thu 02/04/2020

Sondheim

Sondheim at 90 Songs: 5 - 'Every Day A Little Death'

“Whipped cream with knives” is how Harold Prince, who directed the Broadway premiere of A Little Night Music in 1973, famously described this particular Sondheim show. And nowhere is that borne out with more exquisite agony than in this duet between...

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 4 - 'America'

Ever since I heard the quintessential prog rock group The Nice do a psychedelic instrumental version of “America” in 1968, I have loved this song. Later on, I was better able to appreciate Sondheim’s lyrics, whose satirical sharpness and superb...

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 3 - 'Johanna' (Quartet Version)

Along with many others, my first exposure to Stephen Sondheim’s art was through watching the film of Bernstein’s West Side Story as a child. The song which still floors me is the Quintet near the end of Act 1. Bernstein’s ecstatic, dynamic...

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

Two numbers, one hair-raising slice of music-theatre. When Sondheim's paying homage to the older, revue type of musical, you can extract a string of top hits: Follies, from which Marianka Swain chose "I'm Still Here" yesterday, could yield at least...

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 1 - 'I'm Still Here'

Surely there’s never been a more apt time for Sondheim’s great cry of defiance? “I’m Still Here” is sung by showgirl-turned-actress Carlotta in Follies (1971) – added during the Boston try-out in place of “Can That Boy Foxtrot”. Loosely...

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Sondheim at 90: adults will listen

Here's an irony worthy of the work of Stephen Sondheim, an artist who clearly knows a thing or two about the multiple manifestations of that word. On the same day that he turns 90, namely today, Broadway is unable to host the keenly awaited American...

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Assassins, Watermill Theatre, Newbury, review - Sondheim musical in scalding form

“Every now and then the country goes a little wrong”: so goes one of the many lyrics from the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical Assassins that makes this 1990 Off Broadway musical (subsequently chosen to open Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse in 1992...

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Follies, National Theatre review - the Sondheim spectacular returns, better than ever

This is a golden age of London Sondheim revivals, with Marianne Elliott’s thrilling Company still playing in the West End, and Dominic Cooke’s Follies getting a hugely welcome second run at the National – both testament to a director’s...

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Best of 2018: Theatre

Will pride of place amongst theatre productions every year go in perpetuity to the work of Stephen Sondheim? One might be tempted to think so given the preeminence during 2017 of Dominic Cooke's breathtaking revival of Follies (due back in the...

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Company, Gielgud Theatre review - here's to a sensational musical rebirth

The most thrilling revivals interrogate a classic work, while revealing its fundamental soul anew. Marianne Elliott’s female-led, 21st-century take on George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical comedy Company makes a bold,...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 7, Giunta, Sikich, review - dazzlement in Bernstein and beyond

“What drivel! What nonsense! What escapist Techicolor twaddle!” No, not a description of Wallis Giunta’s scintillating BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall recital, it’s a lyric from “What A Movie”, Leonard Bernstein’s outstanding stand-alone number from his...

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Follies, National Theatre review - Imelda Staunton equal first in stunning company

Of Sondheim’s half-dozen masterpieces, Follies is the one which sets the bar impossibly high, both for its four principals and in its typically unorthodox dramatic structure. The one-hit showstoppers from within a glittering ensemble come thick and...

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