The Sondheim Review

Articles from Vol. 16, No. 3, Spring

Bit by Bit
DeGruccio puts Together together againWhen South Coast Repertory (SCR) began to think about producing Putting It Together, they went to the director who had so successfully staged the Sondheim revue 12 years earlier. Director Nick DeGruccio handled the...
Cherished Preservation
Original Night Music recording was Lieberson's labor of loveFor the recording industry in 1973, "the times, they were a-changin'," to paraphrase a famous Columbia Records artist. The hallowed label was under the leadership of Clive Davis, and many observed...
Claiming a Space
Vancouver concert staging of Merrily overcame many challenges?How did you get to be here? What was the moment?" This is what Charley asks Frank in the opening moments of Merrily We Roll Along. It is also a question I asked myself when I agreed to direct...
Conjuring Sweeney Todd
A gellery exhibit provides context and texture for a concer stagingWhen 4th Wall Theatre (a not-for-profit professional company in northern New Jersey) chose to include a concert reading of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd in its season...
Delicate and Dark
Kaufman's Woods was suspended between a dream and a nightmareHaving collaborated on Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife on its journey from Chicago's About Face Theatre to its Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prize, Moisés Kaufman and Eric Rosen were determined to...
Frank Is a Jerk
What happened to Merrily We Roll Along?When I go to see a new play or musical or movie, I generally avoid reading reviews or articles about it. I prefer to come to it fresh and make up my own mind. My anticipation was high when I went to one of the first...
More to Hear
I moved to New York City on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1982, with dreams of becoming a composer for Broadway musical theatre. When I arrived I purchased a phone, hooked it up, made a call to my one "industry contact" and left a message. Then I set about trying...
News & Notes
Compiled and edited by Rick Pender with contributions by Terri Roberts and Bonnie Weiss. Additional information and material from Playbill.com, BroadwayWorld. com, TheaterMania.com, Variety. The Indianapolis Business Journal, The New Yorker, The Detroit...
Nothing Wasted
Sweeney succeeds with modest means in rural OhioThe local amateur theatre group in my Ohio hometown has yet to tackle any fully-staged Sondheim shows other than Forum and Into the Woods. Given our rural, conservative setting, that's not too surprising....
On the Map
Off the Wall Theatre offers Sondheim to Milwaukee audiencesA run of Sweeney Todd selling out before it opened? The Frogs a hot ticket? Both happened in Milwaukee at the nonprofessional Off the Wall Theatre led by director Dale Gutzman. It's surprising...
Party Time
Putting It Together worked (sort of) as a book musical at South Coast RepSometimes Putting It Together feels as conflicted as, say, a typical Sondheim character. Is it supposed to develop a dramatic arc in the manner of a bittersweet book musical, but...
Passionate Performances
Actress finds a psychological foundation for Fosca at Elden Street PlayersThe Elden Street Players performed Passion during four summer weekends (July 31-Aug. 22, 2009) when many of the savvy theatregoers in the Washington, D.C., area are on vacation....
Send in the Clones
I suspect that if you swabbed the inside of most theatrical lyricists' mouths or sectioned a piece of our brains, you'd find something in our DNA that proves we're all descended from Stephen Sondheim. It's a little like having a parent you adore, respect,...
Sixty Years of Sparks
Hal Prince says he and Sondheim energize each otherNortheastern University's Center for the Arts in Boston presented "A Conversation with Hal Prince" on Oct. 30, 2009, featuring musical performances by Judy Kaye and Tom Wopat. The moderator was Del Lewis,...
Something for Everyone
Goodspeed's Forum honors its originsTed Pappas, the director of the Goodspeed Opera House's revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Sept. 25-Nov. 29, 2009), considers the show to be a masterpiece. "You don't re-shape, re-think or re-build...
Starter Lovett
Tony nominee Skinner tackles her first Sweeney ToddEmily Skinner made Broadway history with her friend Alice Ripley in 1997's Side Show, playing conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton and receiving a shared Best Actress Tony nomination. During the 2002...
Tasty Reunion
McCarthy and Skinner anchor Sweeney in Oklahoma CityOklahoma City's Lyric Theatre celebrated Halloween with a taut, gripping Sweeney Todd (Oct. 22-Nov. 1, 2009) staged by the company's artistic director Nick Corley. Corley, a one-time protégé of Sweeney's...
The Most Primary Color
Harry Groener tells stories, Sondheim-styleHarry Groener remembers the day in 1985 when his agent called to say he had been cast as George and would be stepping into the original Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George. "It was very funny,"...
The Passion of Stephen Sondheim
In 1970, the year that Stephen Sondheim's Company opened on Broadway, almost everyone assumed that the future of American popular music lay in records, not shows. The singer-songwriter was what was happening in pop. Inspired by the Beat-symbolist verses...
Together Again
Lansbury and Sondheim offer rare champagne and a sumptuous feastIn the spring of 1964, Anyone Can Whistle opened on Broadway. During the months leading up to the first night, the production had generated interest for several reasons: (1) its story, about...
True Selves
Playwright and director Kaufman stages Into the WoodsThe announcement that Moisés Kaufman would direct Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre (Sept. 12- Oct. 4, 2009) was exciting and unexpected. The...
With Admiration
Actor brings Mostel back to life (and to New York)The most famous quote associated with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum not written by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove or Larry Gelbart is likely the 1962 response of Zero Mostel when Hal...
With Love
Portland staging of Company gets a lot from a littleCompany is perhaps the most adaptable of Stephen Sondheim's musicals to an intimate setting and a smallish budget. Jane: a theater company, a new entity in Portland, Ore., and its director Corey Brunish...