The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Stephen Sondheim

DEAL OF THE DAY: Get Both Sondheim Books in Hat Box for $56.70

Every day, we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim

In Hat Box, Stephen Sondheim presents his complete collected lyrics from the acclaimed Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat. This box set includes lyrics from Sondheim’s most popular shows like West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, richly annotated with anecdotes, pointed observations, and invaluable advice from one of the greatest songwriters of our time. This handsomely designed package is essential reading for any fan of the theater or this living legend’s work.

$56.70 on Amazon

Get the deal now!

DAILY DEAL ALERT: Get Company on Blu-Ray for $14.93

Every day, we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

2007 Version of Company on Blu-Ray

Only $14.93 on Amazon

Get the deal now!

DAILY DEAL ALERT: The Broadway Musical Quiz Book

Every day, we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

Test your Broadway knowledge with over 1200 questions about 700 different shows with:

The Broadway Musical Quiz Book

Get it for $14.96

The reviews for Sondheim on Sondheim are in …

The reviews for Sondheim on Sondheim are in and though they adore Barbara Cook and hearing from the man himself, the critics were underwhelmed. It’s a show for folks who worship Sondheim – a crowd that will eat up anything touched by the man – but for those who don’t see him as “God,” the poor arrangements, pacing and heavy-handedness may leave them wanting more.

New York Post

Thank God for Stephen Sondheim. Not just for his songs, but for his running commentary, which punctuates the new revue “Sondheim on Sondheim” at regular intervals. Funny, informative, occasionally self-deprecating and often deeply touching, his insights — shown on moving video screens — have more life than the wan performances onstage. Indeed, even with such skilled interpreters as Barbara Cook and Vanessa Williams on board, the numbers flatline. The visuals are theater, the music is glorified cabaret. Read the full review.

The Wall Street Journal

In addition to being a great songwriter, Stephen Sondheim is the object of a cult, the members of which are gathering nightly at Studio 54 to take part in a religious ceremony disguised as a revue… The handsomely mounted results suggest a cross between a PBS documentary and a lecture-recital and at times are almost as interesting, though the galvanizing presence of Barbara Cook (who is returning to Broadway after a 37-year absence) and the ever-excellent Tom Wopat helps to keep the ball rolling. Read the full review.

New York Times

“Sondheim on Sondheim” … is a chipper, haphazard anthology show that blends live performance of Sondheim songs with archival video footage and taped interviews with Himself. Conceived and directed by James Lapine, Mr. Sondheim’s frequent (and, to me, best) collaborator over the years, this somewhat jittery production never quite finds a sustained tone, a natural rhythm or even a logical sense of sequence. It does, however, have a polished and likable eight-member cast (that includes Tom Wopat, Vanessa Williams and the great Barbara Cook); a savory selection of Sondheim material that never made it to Broadway as well as canonic standards; and heaping spoonfuls of insider dope about the creation of shows like “Company” and “Follies” and the changes they underwent on the road. And then there is Mr. Sondheim, who appears in appropriately larger-than-life form on artistically arranged monitors, typically concealing as much as he reveals in quick takes of self-portraiture. Read the full review.

TheaterMania

Unfortunately, much of the show’s first act borders on the offensive in the way it often features annoying too-cute medleys and otherwise ill-reconceived approaches to Sondheim’s work. In the considerably better second act, however, the singers are allowed to warble most of their gorgeous material in a more rewarding fashion. Cook — whose glorious soprano is marked nowadays by tarnished glory — delivers “In Buddy’s Eyes” and “Send in the Clowns” as if giving a master-class in the art of music-comedy interpretation… For many audience members, Sondheim talking about himself — easily and articulately as it happens – is the show’s major selling-point. Read the full review.

Time Out New York

Is it a live PBS documentary about Stephen Sondheim, with vocal illustrations? Or is it a revue of Sondheim’s peerless catalog, with annotations from the author? And if the latter, is it meant to proselytize to neophytes, or to preach to Sondheim’s existing congregation? Some of the show…seems clearly aimed at the cognoscenti… On the other hand, if the show is being pitched to those best equipped to catch it, then what can explain some of the cheesier industrial-style staging and college-singing-group arrangements—or, for that matter, the central casting?… Frustrations notwithstanding, Sondheim on Sondheim remains an enjoyable evening at the theater. Read the full review.

New York Magazine

Have you ever been to an office retirement bash, one of those extravaganzas set up for a company’s beloved founder?… Well, blow that event up to Broadway scale, and you get Sondheim on Sondheim, a celebration of the musical theater’s greatest composer and lyricist. It’s a light revue assembled by his longtime collaborator James Lapine, one in which the composer himself introduces most of the songs, VH1 Storytellers style, in onscreen snippets projected behind the performers. If you are even slightly inclined toward Sondheimianism, you will find yourself comfy and cozy here, but you won’t be challenged much either. If you’re a hater, you will likely find yourself only partway persuaded of his greatness. And if you’re really deep into the cult, you’ve heard all the anecdotes before—but I doubt that you’ll mind one more go-around. Read the full review.

Los Angeles Times

Barbara Cook brings her shimmering timelessness to “Sondheim on Sondheim,” a full-scale (if seldom full-throttle) celebration of our greatest living musical theater songwriter…Conceived and directed by James Lapine…this latest salute is a peculiar hybrid, part video documentary, part elegantly mounted revue. But basically, it’s an entertainment for hard-core Sondheim fanatics who would rather hear the Ethel Merman song that was cut from “Gypsy” than the classic numbers that remain. If you’re a connoisseur of the more obscure reaches of the catalog and thrill at the prospect of getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the music by the master himself, this is the show for you. Read the full review.

The Associated Press

There are a lot of wonderful moments, some intensely personal, in “Sondheim on Sondheim,” the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revelatory revue celebrating Stephen Sondheim’s theatrical career. But nothing quite tops other cast members sitting quietly on stage and listening to Barbara Cook sing “Send in the Clowns.” Cook’s exquisite rendition of Sondheim’s best-known song demonstrates the essence of musical theater: an expert performer capturing the emotional truth found in a perfect blending of words and music. Read the full review.

Backstage

Musical plays are easy; revues are hard. You still have to satisfy all those pesky Aristotelian needs, but you don’t have story and character to help you out. Fortunately, conceiver-director James Lapine has come up with a fertile premise for “Sondheim on Sondheim”: the great man comes to us. Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with Broadway’s musical-theater Shakespeare discussing his work and dishing about his experiences? Through the magic of Peter Flaherty’s video design, imaginatively integrated with Beowulf Borritt’s gorgeous abstract set based on rectangular shapes suggestive of Scrabble tiles, “Sondheim” engages and entrances as much through the songwriter’s chatty, intimate patter as through the top-drawer performances of the gifted eight-person cast. The resulting show is wise, warm, witty, and entirely wonderful. Read the full review.

Delays, transfers, replacements, closings and even some happy news!

That’s right, it’s time for another massive news roundup. There’s a lot to catch up on, so without any further ado, here we go…

The Broadway premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies will open at the Neil Simon Theater in the spring of 2011 due to some health complications of ALW’s part. The show, which was to open on Broadway in November of 2011, has been playing to somewhat mixed reviews on the West End. The big buzz about the delay is in regards to Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (choreographer) because…

Catch Me If You Can is officially opening on Broadway in the spring of 2011! Producers Hal Luftig and Margo Lion have confirmed that rehearsals for the show that premiered at Seattle’s 5th Avenue will begin in January. A theatre and the exact dates of production have not yet been announced, but O’Brien and Mitchell are on board, and it is assumed that the big names associated with the production (Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Norbert Leo Butz) will be headliners.

Another exciting transfer is that of Yank!, the Off-Broadway hit that just closed at the York Theater Company. Producers Pamela Koslow and Karl Held have announced plans to bring the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ G.I. musical to the Great White Way during the 2010-11 season. No news as to whether Bobby Steggert and Ivan Hernandez will repeat the roles they originated on Broadway.

Another Off-Broadway hit, Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture is headed to Broadway thanks to Megan Mullally’s sudden and late departure from Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Everyday Rapture will open on April 29, 2010, so it will be in the running for this year’s Tony Awards.

The other sudden departure was that of the show All About Me, which, after being panned harshly by critics, ended its Broadway run after only 20 performances. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a flop.

But enough depressing news…here’s some happy news:

  • Next to Normal officially recouped its investment!
  • Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed in Stephen Sondheim’s honor!
  • John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch may be headed to Broadway in the fall!

And yes, it’s not technically Broadway, but since so many Off-Broadway shows are transferring these days, I thought it worth mentioning that Bloody Bloddy Andrew Jackson, a new musical about the guy you talked about in history class is generating nothing but great buzz. If you want to see it while the price is right, get over to the Public Theatre ASAP.

A new musical, Sondheim on Sondheim, is coming to Broadway

Sondheim on Sondheim, a new Broadway musical starring Barbara Cook (The Music Man, Candide, Follies), Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods, Kiss of the Spider Woman), Michael Arden (A Tale of Two Cities, Big River) and Leslie Kritzer (A Catered Affair, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Big River), will on at Studio 54 on April 22, 2010.

The production is directed and conceived by James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Into the Woods, Falsettos) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (Company, Follies, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) and produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, the folks mounting Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway.


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A Vacation, A Rumor, A Cast Album and A Web Site Story

A Little Vacation for Hair star Gavin Creel

Tony Award nominee Gavin Creel just announced on his blog that he “will be off with the Creel Clan chilling by a lake in Michigan” from Aug 10-17 this summer, so if you head to Hair that week, you’ll be seeing understudies Jay Armstrong Johnson or Paris Remillard as Claude.

RUMOR: Stanley Tucci to direct T.R. Knight in Lend Me a Tenor

Entertainment Weekly claims that Gray’s Anatomy star, T.R. Knight, will play Max in the Stanley Tucci directed Broadway production of Lend Me a Tenor, but no official announcement about the production has yet been made. You can bet it’ll get posted here once it is.

A New Sondheim Cast Album!

The cast album for Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show arrives in stores today (check it out on iTunes now)!

The show, which made its world premiere Off-Broadway at the Public Theater last fall with a book by John Weidman (Pacific Overtures, Assassins, Contact) and a score by Sondheim (Company, Into the Woods, Sweeny Todd, Sunday in the Park with George) and is “the story of two brothers whose quest for the American dream turns into a test of morality and judgment that changes their lives in unexpected ways.”

John Doyle (Sweeny Todd, A Catered Affair, Company) directed the production, which featured Michael Cerveris (Sweeny Todd, Assassins, Titanic, The Who’s Tommy) and Alexander Gemignani (Assassins, Sweeny Todd, Sunday in the Park with George).

The CD features the complete cast of the original Public Theater production which also included Alma Cuervo, William Parry, Claybourne Elder, Aisha de Haas, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Mylinda Hull, Mel Johnson, Jr., Orville Mendoza, Anne L. Nathan, Tom Nelis, Matt Stocke, William Youmans and Kristine Zbornik.

Order the cast album on amazon.com.

And just for fun…

webside

Collegehumor.com has created a new web muscial called Web Site Story. It’s no Prop 8: The Musical…but has some pretty good lines. Check it out here.

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