The Stephen Sondheim Society
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E L L I OT T & H A R PE R PR O D U CT IO N S PRESENTS
THE LEGENDARY BROADWAY MUSICAL AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE
ROSALIE CRAIG AND
COMPANY MUSIC & LYRICS
STEPHEN GEORGE MARIANNE SONDHEIM FURTH ELLIOTT ORIGINALLY PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
From 26 September 2018 2
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DECEMBER 2017 – CONTENTS Enquiries and submissions should be sent to The Editor: David Lardi 51 Goring Road Bounds Green London, N11 2BT Membership enquiries should be addressed to The Society’s Administrator: Lynne Chapman 265 Wollaton Vale Wollaton Nottingham NG8 2PX Telephone: 0115 928 1613 sondheimsociety@ sondheim.org
News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Follies at the National: I’m So Glad I Came. . . . . . . 6 Follies: What the Press Said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 A Little Night Music at the Watermill. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 George Takei: “I Was There”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 On The Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 American Perspective. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 UK Show Listing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 From the archive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back cover Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this magazine. We cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Unless otherwise stated, any views or opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of The Stephen Sondheim Society.
Contributors: Jonathan Baz, Jeremy Chapman, Lynne Chapman, Stephen Farrow, Craig Glenday Photographs: Karli CadelEllie Kurrtz, Joan Marcus, Mathew Imaging/LA Phil, Alex Lozupone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Ovenden, Johan Persson, Rob Rich, Philip Tull, Bill Westmoreland
Cover: Emily Langham as Young Carlotta in Johan Persson’s evocative snapshot of the National Theatre’s Follies set. Every effort is made to trace the original source of copyright photographs. We apologise for any error or omissions and would be happy to acknowledge corrections in future editions of the magazine.
THE STEPHEN SONDHEIM SOCIETY Registered charity no. 1142092 Patrons: Stephen Sondheim, Maria Friedman, Mary Hammond, David Kernan, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie, Stuart Pedlar, Bernadette Peters, Jenna Russell MANAGEMENT
Chairman: Craig Glenday firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: David Lardi
Treasurer: David Oldcorn Company Secretary: Ian Cobden Trustees: Peter Auker, Tina Foote, David Lardi, Ray Mansell, Colin Walker Administrator: Lynne Chapman
Technical Editor: Craig Glenday Editorial Team: Daria Begley (US Correspondent), Jeremy Chapman, Nina Douglas, David Oldcorn, Mark Smith, Tricia Sharpe
Chairman’s welcome I hope by now that you will all have experienced the fantastic revival of Follies in London, either at the National Theatre itself or in cinemas via the NT Live broadcast. If not, there’s still a chance to catch this exemplary production at the National (until 3 Jan) or in one of the many Encore screenings in local cinemas. If you can’t catch it – why not?! – then I hope that the review in this issue by our guest writer Stephen Farrow will give you a crystal clear insight into how well (most of it) worked. This is Stephen’s first piece for us, and his well-informed critique of the show makes for a fascinating read. I’m sure you’ll not agree with all of his observations – we’ll agreed to differ on Imelda Staunton’s Sally! – but then therein lies the joy of reviews… Also making his Sondheim The Magazine debut is the London blogger Jonathan Baz, who many of you will know as a regular in West End theatres. We’re most grateful to Baz for sharing with us his thoughts on the Watermill Theatre’s production this summer of A Little Night Music, part of this lovely venue’s 50th anniversary season. I, for one, adored this production – I’m not normally a fan of the actor-muso format when it comes to Sondheim but this delightful version totally worked for me. I’m pleased to reveal that Baz also felt the same way. Our US correspondant Daria Begley has been working overtime for us this issue, for which I’m also very grateful. Not only has she updated us on Sondheim goings-on in her extended American Perspectives column, but she’s also found time to interview Pacific Overtures – and Star Trek – star George Takei about his role as the Reciter in John Doyle’s recent (thankfully not actor-muso) version. I also had the pleasure of meeting George Takei earlier this year, and can honestly say that he’s one of the nicest fellows I’ve encountered, and I’m sure you’ll agree once you read his Q&A. Thanks also to our cabaret maven Jeremy Chapman for filling us in on the London cabaret scene. Please indulge his somewhat off-brief account of prison theatre – he was moved, as I have been in the past, with the work of those professionals who offer convicts the chance to tread the boards, and there are few proponents of musical theatre more worthy of coverage in our humble journal. Finally, apologies for the delay in issuing this edition. Our Editor David Lardi suffered a family tragedy that left him understandably unavailable to contribute. We send him all our love and support. Craig Glenday
Patti Lupone to star in Company It was announced in September that the role of Joanne in Marianne Elliot’s muchanticipated gender-swapped Company will be played by none other than Broadway legend Patti Lupone (right). This will mark the diva’s first West End appearance for more than a quarter of a century. This new production of Company, which opens at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, sees Rosalie Craig play Bobbi, a 35-year-old single woman whose “good and crazy” married friends can’t believe she’s still not tied the knot. Marianne Elliott was quoted in Broadway World saying: “I feel so lucky to be directing this wonderful musical. I’ve loved it for years. I really want to make this production contemporary, to explore what it feels like to be a 35-year-old sexually confident woman managing friendships and searching for love. Stephen Sondheim and I have talked a great deal about how this new interpretation might best be executed and I can’t wait to share it with audiences. I also get to work with the beautiful and talented Rosalie Craig, as well as a hero of mine, Patti LuPone.” In response, LuPone said: “I saw War Horse in New York and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in London. I came out of both productions blown away by Ms Elliott’s vision. So naturally I am thrilled beyond words that she wants me to be a part of Company. I’m a lucky girl. Marianne, Steve, London. I thought I’d sworn off musicals, but working with Marianne was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.” Let’s all drink to that!
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SOCIETY OUTINGS Tuesday 12 December Designing Follies, Clore Learning Centre. National Theatre, London Monday 18 December Josephine Barstow and Tracie Bennett platform talk, Olivier, National Theatre
Wednesday 3 January Follies (evening, final performance)
Patti Lupone, who returns to London next year to star as Joanne in Company
Metrosexual mistake The free newspaper Metro ran an interesting preview of Marianne Elliott’s Company on 3 November 2017. Accompanying a photograph of Patti Lupone were the words: “You’ve ages to get your outfit for the latest Stephen Sondheim musical about Bobby, a 35-year old man who becomes Bobbi, a woman. Broadway legend Patti LuPone is worth the price of the ticket alone.” Talk about losing the plot!
• 2015 SSSSPOTY winner Erin Doherty (left) garnered some rave reviews for her (non-musical) performance in My Name is Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic – the true story of the 23-year-old peace activist who was killed by a bulldozer while protesting the demolition of Israeli homes. The one-woman show ran from 29 September to 26 October. “Erin Doherty is never less than riveting as Corrie,” said Dave Fargnoli in The Stage, “skilfully navigating the author’s rapid switches from eloquent to bewildered, from optimistic to appalled. Humorous and humanising, her portrayal excavates the raw sensitivity underpinning Corrie’s complex ethical rambles, perfectly capturing the sense of an awkward outsider rigorously questioning her own motivations.”
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CD in the Park with Jake The cast recording from the recent Hudson Theatre production of Sunday in the Park with George is now on sale – on twodisc CD, mp3 and via streaming on Spotify. This revival, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal as George and Annaleigh Ashford as Dot/ Marie, was directed by James Lapine’s niece Sarna Lapine and opened to rave reviews. A cast album was much anticipated, and the Society learned from the show’s Soldier, Claybourne Elder, that a recording was being made in the week following the show’s closing. The album is currently enjoying a user rating of 4.9 out of 5 on Amazon, where the answer to the question “Do we really need another cast record of Sunday in the Park?” is a resounding “Yes!”
Sunday in the Park with George: 2-discs, Arts Music, release date 8 December 2017.
Follies at the National, broadcast live on 16 November across the UK. Now folks we bring you, direct from London The NT Live broadcast of Follies went – mostly – without a hitch on 16 November, giving thousands of fans the chance to see the show either for the first time or for a second (or more) time up close. A few issues with sound balance aside – and despite a number of cinemas unable to cope with the technical challenge of streaming a live production – the broadcast was a success. The score has never sounded
• Derek Anderson, the Aberdeen-born director who helmed the acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd at the (all-too-shortlived) Twickenham Theatre starring David Bedella and Sarah Ingram, returns to Sondheim with his next show: Company. Due to be staged at the Aberdeen Arts Centre from 1 to 10 February, Company will star Oliver “Wicked” Savile in the role of Bobby and feature Ashleigh Gray, Simbi Akande, Kimberly Blake and Stephen John David. Will Derek have a repeat of his award-winning success? Find out by booking a ticket via www.aberdeenartscentre. com/company
so lush, and the camerawork and seamless cutting between points of view only served to intensify the performances. Encore screenings are scheduled for the coming months, so check http:// ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ for details of a repeat screening near you. • Follies has been named in three Evening Standard Theatre Awards categories: Janie Dee (Best Actress), Dominic Cooke (Best Director) and Best Musical. The results will be announced on 3 December.
• Michael Ball recently sang Sondheim’s praises in an interview for the i newspaper. On the subject of snobbery towards musicals, the Sweeney Todd star said: “People say that it’s not as serious as doing a Shakespeare play or doing the RSC or doing something at the National for David Hare. It’s bollocks. Show me a greater writer than Stephen Sondheim.” • Tim McArthur, our host for The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabarets, will be performing at Feinstein’s 54 Below next year. Those in New York in the Spring can catch his Mountains: A Musical Adventure on 5 March 2018.
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Follies at the National: I’m so glad I came Theatre blogger Stephen Farrow shares his thoughts on Dominic Cooke’s Follies at the National Theatre – a “thoughtful, intelligent, sometimes dazzling production…”
Follies, Olivier, National Theatre, London, 22 August 2017– 3 January 2018.
Sally should have died the first time. Phyllis tells a drinks waiter he’s getting her all wet. Weismann hits on a waitress. There’s no interval, so slamming down a venti Americano before you take your seat probably isn’t a good idea unless you’re wearing Depends. We are, thank God, back in 1971 in more ways than one: for this production, the cut-down-and-smoothedout revised version of James Goldman‘s book for Follies has been well and truly buried. May it never return. Follies, more than most, is a show with a bumpy production history. The original Broadway production ran for more than 500 performances but lost a then-unheardof $800,000. A 1987 London production had a completely rewritten book; it had
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The show’s characters are confronted by their younger selves, dredging up questions of memory and identity that locate the book in a surreal no-man’s-land between Pinter and Pirandello, with a hefty dollop of Fellini thrown in and a sprinkling of Albee on top more than that: during the reunion, the show’s characters are confronted by their younger selves, dredging up questions of memory and identity that locate the book in a surreal no-man’s-land between Pinter and Pirandello, with a hefty dollop of Fellini thrown in and a sprinkling of Albee on top. And on top of that, the whole thing is a metaphor for America’s post-war decline. It’s wonderful (if you don’t get one of the various watered-down rewrites), and I love it, but if you just want tap-dancing chorus girls you’re better off at 42nd Street.
The inevitable Roscoe (Bruce Graham) brings on those Beautiful Girls.
a longer run but also lost money. There have been two Broadway revivals since 2000; they each used the watered-down rewrite of the book that has become the standard version, and neither was a hit. This, though, is a show fans obsess over. The score, underappreciated by critics in 1971, is an embarrassment of riches; Goldman’s original book is better – much better – than any subsequent revision, but it’s probably too bleak ever to be a long-running commercial success. Set at a reunion of former showgirls in a now-defunct Ziegfeld Follies-style extravaganza, the show ostensibly focuses on the unhappy marriages of two ex-chorines, Sally and Phyllis, and their less-than-completely-faithful husbands, (respectively) oil rig salesman Buddy and politician/businessman Ben. On one level, the slender plot is simple: Sally and Phyllis danced together in the final season of the Weismann Follies in 1941, and were roommates. Sally married Buddy, Phyllis married Ben – but Sally and Ben had a fling before their engagements, and Sally arrives at the reunion having spent the past thirty years pining for what might have been. Actually, it’s about far
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A big part of Cooke’s achievement here is that he understands the rhythm of the piece, and with Follies that is by no means always the case.
Dazzling jewels by the score (from left): Heidi (Dame Josephine Barstow), DeeDee (Liz Izen), Phyllis (Janie Dee), Solange (Geraldine Fitzgerald), Carlotta (Tracie Bennett).
God knows what the National had to do in order to persuade James Goldman’s widow to allow them to go back to the not-watered-down bleak-but-brilliant original book, but we can all be very glad they did: Dominic Cooke’s production more than does it justice, although it isn’t without flaws. This isn’t precisely the unadulterated original text; there are still a number of cuts and tweaks, although none of them amounts to life-or-death changes. In the dumbed-down rewrite that has become the standard published version, there are a couple of crossovers in the final scene – minor characters leaving the party, given a couple of lines each. Those are inserted earlier in the show, before the surreal Follies-as-metaphor Loveland sequence, and it’s perhaps useful, by that point, to emphasise the lateness of the hour as the four central characters succumb to a combination of alcohol, obsession and spectacular self-loathing. Cooke keeps the “ghosts”
onstage far more than the stage directions suggest; they’re almost always present somewhere, and all the party guests are mirrored/stalked/haunted by their own pasts. Accordingly, in the long opening sequence, the first fragment of song (as opposed to underscoring) comes from two of the ghosts: Young Ben and Young Buddy get a “hey up there/way up there/ whaddya say up there?” (the opening phrase of “Waiting for the Girls Upstairs”, a song that arrives twenty minutes or so later) before anyone else has sung a word. “Bolero d’Amour”, on the other hand, has been cut, although it was apparently in the show at the first preview. And – purists will seethe, but we’re in London not New York and this choice makes sense – in “I’m Still Here”, Carlotta sings that she got through Shirley Temple rather than Brenda Frazier. I suppose they could have explained Brenda Frazier in a programme note, but who reads those? (I do, actually, and in this case you should too: the programme includes fine, informative, well-written essays by David Benedict, Russell Jackson and Gary Yershon, and a snippet of Ted Chapin’s wonderful book about the making of the original production. It’s well worth the £5.) A big part of Cooke’s achievement here is that he understands the rhythm of the piece, and with Follies that is by no means always the case. Until the “Loveland” show-within-a-show at the evening’s climax, Follies is structured as a continuous tapestry rather than as a succession of individual scenes, using a theatrical equivalent of cinematic crossfades – as one piece of the action ends, another begins somewhere else on the stage and your eye is drawn to it. Harold Prince’s original Broadway production achieved this effect using several moving platforms (there is some archival footage available); here, Cooke makes judicious use of the Olivier’s revolve (though not the drum) and Paule Constable’s perfectly eerie lighting to keep the action spinning, and to shift focus between different areas of Vicki Mortimer’s desolate-but-beautiful derelict-backstage set.
roles. Billy Boyle and Norma Atallah are absolutely charming as the Whitmans, and their “Rain on the Roof” is a delight. Geraldine Fitzgerald is a drily funny Solange. Di Botcher cannily underplays “Broadway Baby”, so that a song that these days can seem like a cliché feels absolutely fresh. They get to do the trio ending combining their three numbers, and it’s a showstopper. Bruce Graham is a golden-voiced Roscoe, and Gary Raymond is a fascinatingly haunted/haunting Dmitri Weismann. As Stella Deems, Dawn Hope sings the hell out of “Who’s That Woman?”, the memorable tap number in which the ex-chorus girls literally dance with their younger selves. The score is an embarrassment of riches, but so is this cast. As fading soprano Heidi Schiller, Josephine Barstow is simply beautiful. “One More Kiss”, a mockViennese waltz with a sting in the lyric, is the score’s loveliest song; as sung by
The young Sally (Alex Young), Phyllis (Zizi Strallen), Buddy (Fred Haig) and Ben (Adam Rhys-Charles).
“Who’s that woman?” The aging Weismann Girls retread their steps in Bill Deamer’s choreography: DeeDee (Liz Izen), Carlotta (Tracie Bennett), Sally (Imelda Staunton), Stella (Dawn Hope), Phyllis (Janie Dee), Christine (Julie Armstrong) and Sandra (Gemma Page).
He understands the rhythm of the dialogue as well, and that’s something that also appears to have eluded some directors. Goldman’s script starts out looking naturalistic, at least if you look past the ghosts, but it really isn’t. These are emblems rather than fully fleshed-out characters – remember, the whole show is a metaphor – and that’s a deliberate choice. The characters are simultaneously slightly larger-than-life and slightly less than three-dimensional, and there’s a surreal, arch theatricality to the dialogue that can feel painfully stilted if the actors don’t catch the correct rhythm. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Restoration comedy, only with a darker edge, and it requires the same kind of discipline. Cooke makes it make perfect sense; in this production, the dialogue crackles with electricity and the pace never lets up. Dark as the material becomes, though, the delivery in this production stays just the right side of being too arch; there are laughs too – though not in the last ten to fifteen minutes – and they’re all present and correct, and again that isn’t an easy thing to achieve in material as ostensibly bleak as this. And those ghosts are everywhere. There’s a ghostly entrance parade (way) upstage behind the older women during “Beautiful Girls”, the Whitmans dance with their younger selves in “Rain on the Roof”, Carlotta’s ghost looks down on her as she sings “I’m Still Here”. It sounds like embellishment, but it’s a choice that consistently pays off; everyone in this Follies is haunted by the past, but some are much better than others at facing it down. Cooke also draws fine performances from his actors, right down to the smallest
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Tracie Bennett’s Carlotta Campion – the show’s great survivor, a former Follies girl who became a film and television star – seems to be channelling (pre-breakdown) Judy Garland, but that’s a choice that works for the role
Carlotta (Tracie Bennett) sings “I’m Still Here” as the ghost of her younger self (Emily Langham) looks on. Director Cooke never once lets a performer play a scene without their ghost lingering somewhere nearby, watching – usually aghast – as the night’s events unfold.
Barstow and Alison Langer’s Young Heidi, it has possibly never been lovelier. Tracie Bennett’s Carlotta Campion – the show’s great survivor, a former Follies girl who became a film and television star – seems to be channelling (pre-breakdown) Judy Garland, but that’s a choice that works for the role, and that impression is probably reinforced by having seen Bennett’s powerhouse performance as Garland in Peter Quilter’s End of the Rainbow. Bennett’s Carlotta is strong, unsentimental, almost flinty – but at a certain point Bennett lets you see vulnerability too, and her “I’m Still Here” isn’t quite like any other performance of the song I’ve encountered. It starts as a reminiscence to friends, but then once she’s left alone onstage, halfway through the number, it becomes something darker and more complex: simultaneously a triumphant shout of survival and a more introspective acknowledgment of the emotional toll that comes with enduring adversity. It’s surprisingly moving, and an original, subtle
take on a song that too often just gets steamrollered into the ground. As for the central quartet and their younger counterparts, it’s mostly good news there too. Peter Forbes is an ideal Buddy – affable, ingratiating, sad around the edges. He isn’t a tap-dancer, but “The Right Girl” is reconceived as an almostadversarial dance duet with Fred Haig’s equally ideal Young Buddy, and it works very well indeed. Philip Quast brings tremendous gravitas to his portrayal of Ben, and in his hands “The Road You Didn’t Take” – Sondheim’s baldest statement of the show’s overriding theme – is as affecting as it has ever been. And you’ll probably want to go home and erect some kind of shrine to Janie Dee’s Phyllis, because she’s perfect. That leaves Imelda Staunton’s Sally, which is an impeccable performance in every way except one. Staunton does not fall into the trap of making Sally manic or bipolar from the top of the show. She very carefully charts a slow descent into madness, and it’s a very, very fine acting performance. Sondheim’s music, on the other hand, is not a good fit for her voice. Sally’s songs demand a soprano and she just isn’t one. That said, she more or less gets away with it: her “In Buddy’s Eyes” is absolutely transfixing (and yes, she does hit all the notes), because the acting
performance is compelling enough to carry the music with it – and to be fair, she floats a lovely pianissimo whatever-it-is on the final note. She takes the middle of “Too Many Mornings” down an octave, but does hit the high notes at the end of the song. Her Loveland number, “Losing My Mind”, is less successful, but that’s partly because the staging is too busy: she sings a good part of the song in profile to the audience, sitting at a dressing table, and it would help if she was allowed to face the audience from the beginning. Part of the problem, though, is undeniably the mismatch between the song and the performer. Staunton is a brilliant actor with a versatile voice that can encompass a wider range of musical roles than you might imagine, but she does not have the kind of glorious one-ofa-kind singing voice that could stand in the same league as some of her predecessors in the role. When Dorothy Collins, Barbara Cook or Julia McKenzie sang the song – and all three are/were superb actors too – their voices could do some of the heavy lifting. McKenzie’s physical stillness was a powerful statement in itself given that the song essentially spends four minutes describing a state of emotional paralysis. Staunton doesn’t have that kind of voice, so the song is given more elaborate blocking (in profile, face forward, pick up a glass and take a drink, stand for the final verse, yada yada) as if to compensate. The acting choices make perfect sense, and she (correctly) plays the performance pastiche rather than the nervous breakdown underpinning the song – but the song benefits enormously from a thrilling voice, and it doesn’t get one. And having said all that, Staunton’s performance in the final scene is so heartbreaking that you’ll probably forgive her more or less anything for her delivery of the line “Oh dear God, it is tomorrow.”. Her presence in the role brings gains and losses; she’s wonderful, but she’s also imperfect – and perhaps all the more so next to the marvellous Alex Young’s Young Sally, because Young has the acting chops and the voice.
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The Loveland sequence as a whole, in fact, is somewhat problematic. Cooke’s direction, so perfect in the preceding scenes, goes off the rails a little with the onset of the climactic show-within-ashow. Loveland is basically a metaphorical Ziegfeld Follies performance in which the four principal characters each perform their own individual folly; the transition into Loveland is handled well enough, although the Loveland set could usefully look a little more opulent, and the scenesetting numbers for the Young quartet are perfectly charming. Forbes’s “Margie” and “Sally” in “Buddy’s Blues” were chorus boys in drag; if you don’t know that that’s how the number was performed in the
The Young Sally (Alex Young) watches as her older self (Imelda Staunton) makes her entrance.
Purists might prefer Michael Bennett’s original choreography for “Who’s That Woman?” to Deamer’s account of the number, in which the “ghosts”, in the tap section, take the stage alone before dancing with their older counterparts www.sondheim.org
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The original book plays beautifully and is vastly superior to every subsequent rewrite. It’s a thoughtful, intelligent, sometimes dazzling production of difficult material, and – mostly – an impeccable presentation of Sondheim’s glorious score
Lord Lord Lord Lord Lord… Stella (Dawn Hope) “sings the hell out of ‘Who’s That Woman?’”
original production’s pre-Broadway tryout in Boston (I should have, but had forgotten until a couple of friends reminded me), it feels like an arbitrary choice. (The men have since been replaced by women). The staging of “Losing My Mind” pulls your focus away from what Staunton’s Sally is feeling, and places it instead on what she’s doing. Phyllis’s “Story of Lucy and Jessie”, in which she tries to reconcile the chasm between her present and younger selves, is the most completely successful of the four numbers; Dee’s Phyllis, in a black dress that redefines
va-va-voom, dances with Zizi Strallen’s Young Phyllis as well as a gaggle of chorus boys. Again, a definite choice, and not quite what the stage directions suggest, but it gets the point across: Bill Deamer’s choreography is terrific, and it’s crystal clear in this staging that Phyllis’s “folly” is her inability to reconcile the persona she assumed after marrying Ben with the (relatively) carefree but unschooled young woman she used to be (I think it’s crystal clear in the lyrics as well, but it’s a point that seems to have come as a surprise to at least one of London’s theatre critics). Quast’s “Live, Laugh, Love” is great until the onset of the breakdown that takes us out of Loveland and back into the derelict theatre. His collapse simply isn’t big enough – and the issue is with the direction rather than the actor, because the scripted chaos/cacophony that accompanies the moment is also more subdued than it needs to be. And again, having said all that, the final scene – with every line from the original version restored – is superb, and well worth whatever missteps the production might have taken during the preceding twenty minutes. Other reservations? Purists might prefer Michael Bennett’s original choreography for “Who’s That Woman?” to Deamer’s account of the number, in which the “ghosts”, in the tap section, take the stage alone before dancing with their older counterparts. It’s different, it works, and the number stops the show – and having the ghosts briefly supplant their older counterparts is entirely in keeping with the way this production uses the ghosts from the beginning as living memories who inhabit the theatre and refuse to be put to rest – but the original choreography is justifiably celebrated (and has occasionally been used in subsequent productions) and arguably better, and it’s momentarily jarring to see such a decisively different take on the song. And when just about everything else in Cooke’s production is executed with commendable subtlety and restraint, it’s (to say the least) a step too far to have the large electric WEISMANN FOLLIES
sign hanging over the stage sputter and fade so it just says LIES during the chaos sequence that takes us from Loveland back to the bare stage of the Weismann Theatre. We already got the point; it doesn’t need illuminating, particularly not with a several-feet-high sign made of lightbulbs. And – not that this has anything to do with anything on the stage – exercise caution in the National Theatre bookshop after the show. If you care about such things, the new edition of the published script with this production’s artwork on the cover unfortunately does not reflect the version of the text used in this production. There’s a long-out-of-print Random House edition of the original 1971 book; I once owned a copy but it went AWOL a few years ago; another is on the way. Secondhand copies cost more than the new published edition, but can be found within my pain threshold (and for less than I paid for the theatre ticket). Caveat emptor – and while I certainly understand the impulse to have a copy of the published script on sale to tie in with this revival, the differences between the two scripts mean this leaves a slightly sour taste. The revised script essentially reads as if Goldman went through his original book with a razor and carefully cut out everything that made it interesting. It’s a pale imitation; this production, while it isn’t flawless, offers something far closer to the real deal. Overall? A lot of it is thrilling. This is a thoughtful, intelligent, sometimes dazzling production of difficult material, and – mostly – an impeccable presentation of Sondheim’s glorious score. You even get Jonathan Tunick’s original orchestrations, courtesy of a twenty-piece band tucked away at the back of the Olivier’s vast stage (the flawless musical direction is by Nigel Lilley). It isn’t quite the idealised revival of the show I’ve been carrying around in my head for the last twenty-plus years, but it probably couldn’t be; parts of it don’t match up, and parts of it are better than anything I’d imagined. Given the National’s budgetary constraints – the transition into Loveland really needs to look as if the designers threw a lot of money at the stage, and here it just doesn’t – and
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the fact that the show has never turned a profit in a commercial production, this is probably as good a revival as anyone could ever have expected. Cooke and Deamer’s choices, though, mean that devotees of the show – there are people, God help us, who are (even) more obsessive than I am – are going to be arguing about this staging, and about at least a couple of the performances (Staunton and Bennett, and maybe Quast in the breakdown/chaos sequence) for years. Me? I’m just glad I get to see it again before it closes in January.
Stella (Dawn Hope) and Sam Deems (Adrian Grove) recount the story of their lives after the Weismann Follies. The Society was thrilled to hear that Adrian – a former winner of The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year award – was cast in this production; as well as playing Sam, he is also understudy Ben.
WHAT THE PRESS SAID… “Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee and Philip Quast make this revival not just triumphant, but transcendent… Past productions of Follies have tended to focus on the show’s theme of regret, of old age reflecting on wasted youth. But Cooke makes this production less about the show’s themes, and much more about the show itself. He doesn’t ignore its reputation as one of the greatest musicals ever written, he celebrates it. The result is some Platonic ideal of Follies – and 2 hours 15 minutes of goosebumps.” Tim Bano, The Stage “I’m thrilled to report that Dominic Cooke’s version in the Olivier surpasses your wildest dreams for this show. It’s jaw-droppingly great… Cooke has never directed a musical before. Nothing like breaking your duck with a stunner.” Paul Taylor, The Independent [Continued over]
sondheim the magazine “Sondheim’s 1971 classic is a tribute to the Broadway extravaganza and a bittersweet elegy to the ephemeral nature of theatre and the folly and brevity of life: a fiendishly difficult mix to pull off. Dominic Cooke responds with an outstanding revival — spectacular, sassy, sorrowful and ultimately deeply sad. It’s as robust as an old trouper and as delicate as a cobweb, a brilliantly sustained reverie, superbly performed… Imelda Staunton is simply heartbreaking as Sally. Her chipper resilience eroded, she delivers ‘Losing My Mind’ with devastating simplicity.” Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times “Former Royal Court boss Cooke graduates with flying colours as he directs his first major musical. He brings the edge you’d hope for, a hard clarity and sense of brooding dread, but abetted by a formidable team notably choreographer Bill Deamer (GREAT tap sequences) and Mortimer – not least for the costumes – who knocks the ball far out of the park for the fancy stuff too. The audacious final sequence, in which the four leads’ final fates are revealed in a phantasmagoric revue show, is as overwhelmingly opulent as you could hope for, a whirl of sumptuous pastel outfits, spectacular dancing and astringent song.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out “Dominic Cooke’s superb revival, reverting to the structure of the 1971 original and ditching the optimistic conclusion that marred the 1987 West End production, gives this bleakly festive musical a poetic unity I didn’t realise it possessed. The paradox is that Cooke achieves unity by stretching, to the limit, the show’s obsession with duality… Played without a trace of camp and no interval, this is a production that perfectly captures the sustained emotional arc of Sondheim and Goldman’s musical. I came out admiring the show more than ever.” Michael Billington, The Guardian “This production by Dominic Cooke certainly isn’t the most opulent there’s been, with a cast of thirty-seven and a twenty-one-piece orchestra (as against fifty and twenty-six in the original 1971 staging). But it’s lucid, precisely choreographed by Bill Deamer, and above all gorgeously performed.” Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard “ ‘I’d go straight back and see it again,’ I heard a woman enthusing the moment she exited. You’d swear she’d lost her marbles (the prices at the Olivier are steep, too, by NT standards) – until, that is, you see for yourself. Unmissable, really.” Dominic Cavendish, Evening Standard
“The value of Dominic Cooke’s perceptive production for the National Theatre, which returns to the original book, is that it establishes the greatness of Follies once and for all thanks to four illuminating and dazzling central performances and a thoughtful approach which strips back familiar songs to reveal them in different lights.” Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage “Dominic Cooke’s less-is-more National Theatre production, full of subtle touches, finds a better solution than any to the nominally climactic ‘Loveland’ sequence and wisely removes the usual interval, while the dedicated, focused performances are noteperfect… Music supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck and conductor Nigel Lilley have elicited the best possible work; there are stunning contributions from some of the best wind and brass in the business, jabbing away with the acid “wrong” notes or gracefully adding the bittersweet edge of Sondheim’s beloved Ravel… One of the great classics of the musical theatre is magnificently vindicated.” David Nice, The Arts Desk “So how good is Staunton? Brilliant. She perfectly captures Sally’s yo-yoing between accepting her dull marriage or running away with the man she thinks she loves (Ben). Her heartrending ‘Losing My Mind’ had people in tears. Other highlights include Tracie Bennett, kitted out in red lace as Carlotta Campion, belting out ‘I’m Still Here’. The young Phyllis, played by Zizi Strallen, is terrific, with a great voice and pinpoint dancing.” Anne Treneman, The Times “Veteran opera singer Dame Josephine Barstow provides the best moment of the Royal National Theatre’s make-or-break autumn musical… Being Sondheim, myriad lyrics are crammed into not quite enough bars of sub-Bernstein music. The cleverness of the writing (as in ‘Ah, Paris!’) is undeniable but the evening suffers from a lack of narrative drive.” Quentin Letts, Daily Mail “It is all done brilliantly, as well as it could be, and yet does not quite move the heart. Even – no, especially – in the redemptive moments at the end. So a grand entertaining evening, and some of the showiest showbiz in town. But the eyes stay dry.” Libby Purvis, TheatreCat Follies is a literally overwhelming experience. I cried from virtually the beginning to the haunting end of this evocative portrait Mark Shenton, London Theatre
FOLLIES National Theatre, London 22 August 2017–3 January 2018
Dominic Cooke. . . . . Director Vicki Mortimer. . . . . Designer Bill Deamer. . . . . Choreographer Nicholas Skilbeck. . . . . Music Supervisor Jonathan Tunick. . . . . Orchestrator Nigel Lilley. . . . . Music Director Paule Constable. . . . . Lighting Designer Paul Groothuis. . . . . Sound Designer
“You’ll probably want to go home and erect some kind of shrine to Janie Dee’s Phyllis, because she’s perfect.”
Julie Armstrong. . . . . Christine Donovan Norma Atallah. . . . . Emily Whitman Josephine Barstow. . . . Heidi Schiller Jeremy Batt. . . . . Chorus Boy Tracie Bennett. . . . . Carlotta Campion Di Botcher. . . . . Hattie Walker Billy Boyle. . . . . Theodore Whitman Janie Dee. . . . . Phyllis Rogers Stone Anouska Eaton. . . . . Young Emily Liz Ewing. . . . . Weismann’s PA Geraldine Fitzgerald. . . . . Solange LaFitte Peter Forbes. . . . . Buddy Plummer Emily Goodenough. . . . . Young Christine Bruce Graham. . . . . Roscoe Adrian Grove. . . . . Sam Deems Fred Haig. . . . . Young Buddy Aimee Hodnett. . . . . Young Hattie Dawn Hope. . . . . Stella Deems Liz Izen. . . . . Deedee West Alison Langer. . . . . Young Heidi Emily Langham. . . . . Young Carlotta Sarah-Marie Maxwell. . . . . Young Solange Ian McLarnon. . . . . TV Interviewer Leisha Mollyneux. . . . . Young Stella Gemma Page. . . . . Sandra Crane Kate Parr. . . . . Young Sandra Philip Quast. . . . . Ben Stone Edwin Ray. . . . . Cameraman Gary Raymond. . . . . Dimitri Weismann Adam Rhys-Charles. . . . . Young Ben Jordan Shaw. . . . . Kevin Imelda Staunton. . . . . Sally Durant Plummer Zizi Strallen. . . . . Young Phyllis Barnaby Thompson. . . . . Young Theodore Christine Tucker. . . . . Young Deedee Michael Vinsen. . . . . Chorus Boy Alex Young. . . . . Young Sally
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A Little Night Music at the Watermill Jonathan Baz was enchanted by Paul Foster’s five-star Night Music at the Watermill Theatre this summer, calling it at the time “quite probably the best musical to have recently opened in the UK”
A Little Night Music, Watermill Theatre, 27 July–16 September; directed by Paul Foster, musical supervision and arrangements by Sarah Travis. This review was originally published on www.jonathanbaz.com on 3 August 2017
The company of actormusicians look forward to “A Weekend in the Country”
The enchanted narrative of A Little Night Music sees the summer night famously smiling three times: once upon the young, again upon the foolish and finally, upon the old. With Paul Foster’s production can now be added a fourth smile, the one that falls upon an extraordinarily talented musical theatre company. Alongside his musical supervisor and arranger Sarah Travis, Foster has seen this most lush of Stephen Sondheim’s scores (all in waltz-time, to the cognoscenti) reduced to the demands of an actor-musician company, yet retaining all of the original’s magic. It is understood that Sondheim only agreed to his compositions being so arranged if the work was to be carried out by Travis – and one can but hope that in the next few weeks the man himself will hop across the Atlantic to enjoy her remarkable adaptation. Unusually for me, the paragraphs that follow are as much a review as they are, quite simply, a roll call of excellence.
Josefina Gabrielle and Alastair Brookshaw lead the show’s coterie of romantic fools with their Desiree Armfeldt and Fredrik Egerman respectively. Gabrielle is perfection as the much desired actress, maintaining a poise and presence that is both elegant and seductive. Passionate lover, absent mother and truculent daughter, Gabrielle nails them all tackling the hilarious irony of “The Glamorous Life” (as well as the delicious comedy of “You Must Meet My Wife”) perfectly. The show’s fame is probably eclipsed by that of its torch song, “Send In The Clowns” which since the 1970s has been many a diva’s hallmark. Gabrielle takes this most challenging of numbers, making it her own. Her understanding of the lyrics’ undulating nuance is crystal clear and in the song’s prefinale reprise, the pathos is as heartbreaking as it is inspirational. Brookshaw’s Egerman is a masterclass of pitch-perfect acting through song, his choral training bringing an elegant crispness to the role that is rarely seen. Egerman is a man capable of the most bungling ineptitude alongside the purest of passions and imbued by Sondheim with some of the wittiest moments in the canon. Brookshaw, the most talented of tenors, plays the role wonderfully, convincing in his undying love for Desiree. The quartet of fools is completed by Alex Hammond’s Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm and Phoebe Fildes as his wife, the Countess Charlotte. Hammond’s clipped dragoon is a monstrous misogynist, filled with testosterone and a misplaced bravado in place of brains. His is a man and husband that is simply too awful to believe, while visually, his muscular physique alongside Brookshaw’s diminutive frame only adds to the evening’s wit.
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Gabrielle is perfection as the much desired actress, maintaining a poise and presence that is both elegant and seductive. Passionate lover, absent mother and truculent daughter, Gabrielle nails them all. Of course, behind the Count’s braggadocio lies a deeply damaged wife and Fildes depicts Charlotte’s agony in a piercingly poignant “Every Day A Little Of Death”. Sondheim ensures however that any sympathy for the Countess is short-lived as she evolves into a scheming seductress, out to win her husband back irrespective of who she tramples upon (or who is even, potentially, shot!) Fildes’ squeal of delight as her husband, finally, becomes a tiger “for her” is spoton, while her increasing dismay as the first half’s closing number “A Weekend In The Country” plays out, is comedy gold. (And note too that as act one, preinterval closers go, they don’t get much better than the treat that is this multi-part harmonic confection!) And then there is the genius that is Dillie Keane, an actress who’s surely spent her life preparing for the dowager role of Madame Armfeldt. Her lines are minimal but Keane captures the grande-dame’s witty, loving irascibility to a tee. In the first half, her take on the reminiscences of “Liaisons” is a treat, while in the finale and without a trace of mawkish sentimentality she holds us in the palm of her hand as the summer night finally smiles upon the old. The youth of the tale are played by Lucy Keirl as Anne, Fredrik’s wife of 11 months and young enough to be his daughter, Benedict Salter as Fredrik’s troubled son Henrik, grappling with the
conflicting desires of a burning lust and a commitment to the priesthood, and Tilly-Mae Millbrook as Desiree’s illegitimate daughter Fredrika. All three capture their roles’ responsibilities with an immaculate craft. Keirl’s anguished bride, still virginal, defines Anne’s complex combination of youthful innocence with feminine intuition and we believe in her throughout. Salter’s Henrik is sensational – gifted with some stunning solo moments (alongside some outstanding cello work) he brims with an angst and self-doubt that, when his pentup love finally spills, only offers yet another of the evening’s many highlights. Millbrook is every inch the wide-eyed teenager. A girl who’s wise beyond her years, her Fredrika is both a loving granddaughter and a knowing companion to her mother. As the audience are left stunned by “Send In The Clowns”, another of Sondheim’s master strokes is to send in the
Josefina Gabrielle as Desiree Armfeldt: In “Send in the Clowns”, her “understanding of the lyrics’ undulating nuance is crystal clear”.
Christina Tedders [Petra] steps up to the part with a palpable passion as she brings Matt Flint’s choreography to life. Tedders delights throughout the show with her one-liners and truly makes the most of [The Miller’s Son]. www.sondheim.org
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David Woodhead’s ingenious design of distressed grandeur captures the fading elegance of a Sweden long since disappeared.
Merely a weekend at the Armfeldt family manse.
Egerman’s maid Petra, to swirl her skirts in the red-blooded whirl that is “The Miller’s Son”. Christina Tedders steps up to the part with a palpable passion as she brings Matt Flint’s choreography to life. Tedders delights throughout the show with her one-liners and truly makes the most of this cracking song. The show’s chorus of Liebeslieders,
often unsung heroes, are essential to a strong A Little Night Music and here Rachel Dawson, Alexander Evans, Alice Keedwell and Neil MacDonald bring a vocal magic (alongside a musical talent that pervades the entire ensemble) that seamlessly shifts both time and location – and again one witnesses excellent work from Flint. Tom Marshall’s sound design is stunning. Every word and note is audible, with sound effects subtly blended in to enhance the suspension of our disbelief. Alongside in the creative team, David Woodhead’s ingenious design of distressed grandeur captures the fading elegance of a Sweden long since disappeared. Howard Hudson’s lighting work is yet another sensation - for a show that’s set in “perpetual twilight” Hudson cleverly suggests the Northern midsummer sun. In what is quite probably the best musical to have recently opened in the UK, one can only hope that the summer night can smile once more and perhaps see the show transfer to the wider audience it deserves.
To read more of Jonathan’s reviews visit www.jonathanbaz.com. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @MrJonathanBaz
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George Takei: “I was there…”
acclaimed production of Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle. Following the press night of the production, Takei took time out of his busy schedule to speak to the Society’s New York contributor, Daria Begley, about his return to the role, having first played the Reciter back in 2002. How did you become involved with the production? I read in The New York Times in the “Arts, Briefly” section that the Classic Stage Company was considering Pacific Overtures as a revival. Immediately I called my agent and asked him to make some inquiries into the part of the Reciter for me and he called back to say they wanted me. It’s as simple as that.
George Takei, Reciter in Pacific Overtures by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman; Classic Stage Company, New York, USA 6 April–18 June 2017.
Takei, seated, with (from left to right) Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, Marc Oka and Thom Sesma.
As an actor, the downside of a successful career in a TV and/or movie series must be that you become known for nothing else, forever typecast in the same role. George Takei, for example, will be forever remembered as the calm-natured science officer Hiraku Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and subsequent movies. But the Los Angeles-born actor – who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was awarded a Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service by the Japanese American National Museum – has many strings to his bow: politician, novelist, LBGTQ activist, socialmedia broadcaster, and most recently the headliner in the Classic Stage Company’s
Our US correspondent Daria Begley says “Please Hello” to the Reciter in John Doyle’s Pacific Overtures, George Takei – an actor you might know better for his role as Sulu in Star Trek
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[John Doyle] reached his own sense of theatre – the essence of Japanese aesthetics, which is simplicity, essentialism and elegance The role of the Reciter has been altered for this production. Has that effected your performance in any way? Not only the Reciter in the production, but the whole production itself has been dramatically changed. I did Pacific Overtures in 2002 in Ohio – that was more or less based on the Broadway production, so it is dramatically changed from that. It’s the signature of John Doyle. As you know, he famously puts his own stamp on every production, including Stephen Sondheim productions. But I think what he’s done here is take that spectacular Broadway production and essentially reached his own sense of theatre – the essence of Japanese aesthetics, which is simplicity, essentialism and elegance. If you look at a Japanese painting, you’ll see brush strokes, there is a scroll, and then another stroke, and that’s the mountain, and there’s all this negative space that takes on such profundity. It’s the same idea with John and Pacific Overtures – it’s the essence of Japanese simplicity: essentialism. And I think it’s good he didn’t have you play an instrument – that might’ve interfered. I think Doyle just stripped away everything: the make-up, the costumes, even parts of the kabuki. As you say, he filled it in with its essence and its simplicity, and it was all there. I wanted to ask what your collaboration with him was like. He’s known to let the actors take over and allow them develop their character and just let them do what they do best. [Laughs] Like you said, he reduces it down to the essential story telling. He has his firm ideas, but watching
I loved your performance. You seemed to be guiding the production and the cast with your wise and noble presence. You used the two words that John [Doyle] uses to describe my character: wise and noble.
Was Sondheim at rehearsals often? No, he wasn’t. I’m told that he was in the audience at the opening, but I never saw him. His presence was always there. But I never can claim to have ever met the master himself.
You’re an ardent anglophile who goes to London often and you studied at the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford upon Avon. Anything you’d like to tell the Stephen Sondheim Society? As a matter of fact, my father was an anglophile. I was born in 1937, the year that George VI was crowned, hence my name. I was named after George VI, Elizabeth’s father. When I finished at UCLA, my major was theatre arts, my minor was Latin American studies, and my mother said I had a hopeless major and a useless minor. At graduation, I was hoping for a nice fancy celebratory dinner when I got my bachelor’s degree. My graduation gift from my father was the summer session at the Shakespeare Institute, of all places, Shakespeare’s birthplace, so it was the perfect anglophile gift.
Did he not give any notes? No – but we got notes from John [Weidman, playwright] who was in rehearsals and always let us know that he consulted with Sondheim.
It was wonderful of him to do that for you – not many parents want their children in the arts because it’s so difficult. That was a very brave thing for him to do.
Takei with Marc Oka (left), Megan Masako Haley and Thom Sesma.
John Doyle chats with Daria Begley’s sister Evelyn on the closing night of Pacific Overtures.
Did you see the original production? I did and it was spectacular. [Director] Hal Prince, I’m told, was smitten with kabuki theatre, and this was the first time that I saw a Broadway play that had that kind of passion for Asians, specifically kabuki theatre. He had that hanamachi [geisha district] on Broadway and that spectacular lion dance that ends the first act. They had two acts back then but [in this new production] John’s reduced it down to one act with simple storytelling. There were so many other subplots and themes, and this being a Broadway audience, they had to get used to that, and that made it difficult for people to grasp what was happening. But this is reduced to 90 minutes… As complex as the Japanese history of the 19th century is, what John’s done is made a real contribution to the storytelling as well as educating people on Japanese history – Japanese-American history – because it is about an American coming in to transform the Japanese culture.
him direct, what I found fascinating was that he is constantly and totally aware of everything: the music, the stage, the negative space – again that word – and if he feels there is too much music, he’ll ask Greg Jarrett, the Musical Director, if he can cut two measures of music to make it shorter. So he has his mind and his ears and his visual sense on the stage, but at the same time he is confident that he has a group of artists who are prepared and ready to do what needs to be done. It’s a mutual collaboration, but he senses the pattern, he knows where he wants people, he sees the visual picture. We fill the pattern that he sets for us.
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I started school as an architecture major... [but] I wanted to go to New York and study at the Actor’s Studio
but will they give you a diploma that will certify that you are a properly educated person? Your mother and I want you to have that. But you have to be mindful that New York is a crowded place, a competitive place and a very expensive place, and you have to be prepared to do it all on your own. Let me offer you a compromise. Here in town we have UCLA, which has a fine theatre arts department, and if you study theatre arts there, they will give you that documentation your mother and I want. So if you study at UCLA, then we’ll subsidise you.”
Takei with Megan Masako Haley (Tamate). Although the piece was originally conceived to for an all-male cast, Director John Doyle included two women in the company, Haley and Ann Harada.
Well, it was a compromise. I did start my college studies as an architect. My father was in real estate and I think he had it in the back of his mind that I would be designing projects as the architect. He wanted to put out signs saying Takei & Son Real Estate Development! So I started school as an architecture major at Berkley. I was there as a good son for two years and then I came back down to Los Angeles and I told my father that I’ve got to be true to myself and that I wanted to go to New York and study at the Actor’s Studio, where all the greats were coming from. My father knew his son because he was prepared for that. He said, “I know that the Actor’s Studio is a fine, respective and excellent school,
Smart father, smart son! Well, that’s how that came about. He wasn’t always understanding, but he really did understand who I was and he saw that I was determined to study theatre, so he was prepared to compromise. As it turned out, Daddy did know best, because I was seen in student productions at UCLA, which is in Hollywood and the casting directors would see me. This got me my first feature film, Ice Palace, starring that great Shakespearean actor Richard Burton! The gods up there were pulling the strings for me. I want to thank you for your work and your activism, not just for the Asian and LGBTQ community, but for everyone. Particularly for your inspiration, especially in this country, with your childhood. I don’t know how you overcame that. You must be a strong and forgiving person. Thank you for that. In many ways, my father was an extraordinary man. But he was prepared to make compromises… In many ways he was a proud American despite what he’d been through. And he guided me during my teenage identity search. He is my hero!
On the Town
Jeremy Chapman’s regular cabaret column
allow me to mention such a worthwhile collaboration. There has been plenty of activity on the autumn cabaret circuit. Because of a lengthy illness, I have not been able to see as much as usual but what I have seen – Steve Ross, Ann Hampton Callaway, Amanda McBroom and Patti Boulaye – has been first rate. Ross, who came over early in the year but had to cancel two of his three nights because of bronchitis and wasn’t in great shape for the third, was in much better fettle for his Irving Berlin tribute, from “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in 1911 through Annie Get Your Gun and Top Hat to his last musical, Mr President, this was a 30-song two-hour pure bliss masterclass of cabaret gold. Callaway devoted her show to songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald. She will be
Professional performer Robin Bailey (Valjean) joined the inmates of High Down prison for an emotional Les Misérables. The project, he said, demonstrated “the wholesome, restorative power of theatre and music in all its glory.”
Ann Hampton Callaway, whose The Ella Century cabaret was devoted to the songs made popular by Ella Fitzgerald.
Bill Westmoreland/Ann Hampton Callaway
I’ve always wanted to write “since we last met, I’ve been in prison” but it’s no word of a lie now after seeing the inmates of High Down jail in Sutton join forces with the professionals of Pimlico Opera for a splendid version of Les Misérables in October. It’s a life-changing experience seeing 15 prisoners, some of whom had never been inside a theatre before, responding to a standing ovation. Their tears of joy at being applauded for doing something right for a change were unforgettable. I took our beloved chairman Craig Glenday a couple of years ago to Bronzefield’s all-women prison to see Sister Act and he was blubbing at the end of it. No shame in that. Hankies are de rigueur. I never take enough. Pimlico has been doing this since 1991, starting with Sweeney Todd at Wormwood Scrubs, going from prison to prison up and down the country. And only one misfire, when one of the Pimlico team was caught trying to get personal drugs through security. That was at Portsmouth in 2008 and the project, a second bash at Sweeney, had to be immediately cancelled. This was the third Les Mis but Sondheim easily tops the list with six West Side Storys, two Assassins and one Sweeney. They like their musicals with a bit of violence, guns, knives and gang warfare. It’s hard to imagine A Little Night Music or Do I Hear a Waltz? in this environment. Pimlico provided the two leads, both excellent, all the women (High Down doesn’t have any) and main creatives, with inmates (who have been rehearsing full-time for just four weeks) helping with constructing the stage, filling the ensemble and some quite big parts like Marius and Thenardier. The fact that Marius couldn’t sing a note somehow didn’t matter. This, of course, is not cabaret, which is my brief in On The Town, but is such a special event that I hope you will
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Boulaye, the only winner of New Faces – the X Factor of its time – to get maximum points, is still as stunning at 63 as she was in 1978
Patti Boulaye, OBE – the British-Nigerian singer who won New Faces in 1978 and recently wowed audiences with her Billie and Me tribute to Billie Holiday.
Alex Hammond (Count Carl-Magnus, left) and Alastair Brookshaw (Fredrik) sing – and play – in praise of women in the Watermill’s glorious production of A Little Night Music.
back at The Pheasantry and Pizza Express Soho in a four-day visit next March. As she said: “five foot ten and well worth the climb.” McBroom was over partly to plug her new CD called Voices with a number of new songs penned in collaboration with her brilliant musical arranger Michele Brourman. Boulaye, the only winner of New Faces – the X Factor of its time – to get maximum points, is still as stunning at 63 as she was in 1978. Her show Billie and Me showcased an array of Holiday songs including the infamous “Strange Fruit”. Somehow she worked “My Way” into the set and knocked
this overdone number out of the park. I also attended the Guildford School of Acting musical theatre division’s Fabulous 50, a cabaret-style revue with songs from their half-century of shows, from Cabaret in 1967 to the present day. The standard of performance was exceptional. So too was the Guildhall School’s annual musical, Crazy For You. This was a show you could transport lock, stock and barrel a few miles down the road to the West End and it would sit nicely there, every bit as good as the professional touring version of that show. I am lost in admiration for the variety and quality of students these colleges of learning pump out year after year. Two trips to Sondheim shows completed my autumn. A Little Night Music was the excuse for a first visit to the Watermill Theatre on the outskirts of Newbury: hard to find but a wonderful discovery, a dinky place full of charm run by good-hearted folk. Almost but not quite “A Weekend in the Country”. Such a good show I went twice… and didn’t get lost the second time! And then there was Follies, of course. I won’t win any friends when I say I didn’t think Imelda Staunton was right for the part and far too short to have won a place in the Follies’ dance troupe. Philip Quast, with that towering voice, was the star turn for me. Looking forward to seeing the National Theatre Live broadcast on 16 November. The two Everyman cinemas in my area who have taken the simulcast were sold out before the end of October. A good omen.
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Daria Begley’s American Perspective News and notes from the Society’s US correspondent
“Almost Like Praying” Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on 20 September. The disaster spurred Hamilton creator (and Sondheim acolyte) LinManuel Miranda to cut a track in relief for its victims: “Almost Like Praying.” Miranda stated that when he first heard the name of the hurricane, he immediately thought of “Maria” (from West Side Story). Within 24 hours, Miranda wrote the song, which is a riff of the Sondheim-Bernstein classic. The lyrics primarily consists of the title and all 78 towns and municipalities of the island. Miranda had a little help from his friends, who included Marc Anthony, Ruben Blades, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, John Leguizamo and Rita Moreno, among others, and was recorded in several locations in less than a week. The bilingual version is intentionally upbeat, since Miranda wanted to flip its meaning and capture the spirit of the island. The track was released late in the evening on 5 October and hit #1 on the iTunes and Billboard digital singles charts. All proceeds benefit the Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund. Miranda, who translated Sondheim’s lyrics into Spanish
the file name was the title. (We don’t have one yet.)’’ BroadwayWorld.com reached out to Riedel for comment but he neither responded nor retracted the blunder. The columnist reported on The Public Theater’s workshop of the musical last November, which is based on two Luis Buñuel films: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel. He referred to the working title as Buñuel, said the word of mouth was terrific, and that the show may head to Broadway in 2018.
for the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story, received permission from the Bernstein estate and emailed Sondheim within 24 hours about the use of the song. Sondheim answered immediately and said: “Yes – and what else can I do?” Miranda shared a photo of him with Sondheim on Twitter, with the two holding the flag of Puerto Rico flag together, with the caption: “Y’all, when I say all hands on deck for Puerto Rico I mean ALL HANDS ON DECK.” A link to the song can be heard on YouTube at: https://tinyurl.com/ SSSMaria. The New York Times T Magazine featured their annual “Greats Issue” on 16 October, which featured seven artists, with seven different cover stories, with Sondheim being one of them. He was interviewed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which took place last July. Miranda began the article by writing: “He is musical theatre’s
greatest lyricist, full stop.” The two spoke of their success, writing process and different approaches: Miranda likes to introduce his songs to collaborators while in the process: “The moment when I know my collaborators are going to make it better.”Sondheim doesn’t: “I never give unfinished songs.” (He allowed that he had done so occasionally when pressed by a collaborator; specifically for playwright and director James Lapine.) Sondheim was thrilled when, years ago, Miranda mentioned the title of his next project, Hamilton: “Variety, variety, variety, Lin. Don’t let up for a second. Surprise us.” There’s a nice photo of Sondheim wearing a tee-shirt that says: Order, Design, Tension, Composition, Balance, Light & Harmony. A related article, 10 Famous People on Stephen Sondheim, includes brief descriptions by Bernadette Peters, Sarah Jessica Parker and Warren Beatty, among others. There were two brief videos accompanying the article; one from a children’s summer camp singing “I’m Still Here” and the other of Times employees singing “Broadway Baby.” Let’s hope they don’t give up their day job.
Riedel jumps the gun on new Sondheim There is no title so far for the new Sondheim and David Ives musical. Buñuel is not even its working title. Sondheim told BroadwayWorld.com that the musical was never called Buñuel and criticised New York Post reporter Michael Riedel for misreporting it. “For your info (feel free to be the first on your block to report it): Buñuel was never the title of the show. That was just misreporting by Riedel (surprise, surprise), whose spy at the Public [Theater] thought
sondheim the magazine Still going strong at 60 West Side Story turned 60 years old on 26 September. When the revolutionary musical opened, the Broadway stage hadn’t heard anything like Bernstein’s and Sondheim’s score, nor seen anything like Jerry Robbins’ groundbreaking choreography, all seamlessly held together by Arthur Laurents’ book. Though the film version would make this reworking of Romeo & Juliet a cultural touchstone, the musical would always be loved, revived and examined. The season before, Sondheim wrote the title song for the play The Girls of Summer on Broadway, but West Side Story would officially be his Broadway debut. On the actual day, Feinstein’s/54 Below hosted West Side Story 60th Anniversary Celebration, a sold-out event hosted by Michael Portantiere, a contributor to Everything Sondheim, an American organisation almost similar to what we do here at the SSS. Matthew Martin Ward was the musical director and pianist. Among the highlights, a montage of songs was shown of the many singers who sang songs from the show. Special
guests were Harvey Evans, who was a replacement in the original company and featured in the film version, and Carol Lawrence, the original Maria. The cast included: Ashley Marie, Tyler William Milliron, Leah Horowitz, Natalie Storrs and Natalie Douglas. The next evening was Cool! The 60th Anniversary and Reunion Event, at St Luke’s Theatre. That sold-out evening featured 11 original cast members, was hosted by Matt Rodin and moderated by Martin Charnin, the original Big Deal. The other 10 cast members were Grover Dale (Snowboy), Marilyn D’Honau (Clarice), Carol Lawrence (Maria), Ronnie Lee (Nibbles), George Marcy (Pepe/Bernardo), Liane Plane (Marguerita), Tony Mordente (A-Rab), Chita Rivera (Anita), Jaime Sanchez (Chino) and David Winters (Baby John). The panel spoke of their experiences about being cast and working with the creators, through to opening night and afterwards. Chita Rivera reiterated the infamous story of Robbins not wanting the Jets or the Sharks to socialise together to create tension.
By George! It’s a triumph Sunday in the Park with George ended its very successful Broadway run on 23 April at the newly refurbished Hudson Theater. Previews began on 11 February and it officially opened on 23 February. The show received excellent reviews, with critics noting Jake Gyllenhaal’s vulnerable and sensitive performance as George. The musical was directed by James Lapine’s niece, Sarna, and also starred recent Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford as Dot. Sunday became the first show of the season to recoup its investment, and was sold out for most of its run. The revival was recorded in April by the Warner Music Group, and released for downloading and streaming on 22 September. Bart Migal produced and mixed the cast recording.The production was filmed at the matinee performance on 19 April for the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library’s Theatre on Tape
This didn’t exactly work out: Rivera, who played Anita, a Shark girlfriend, married Tony Mordente, who played A-Rab, a Jet! Rivera also confirmed that Peter Genaro choreographed the Shark dances. Clips were also shown from Dennis Grimaldi and Joey Dedio’s documentary: Something’s Coming... Something Good: West Side Story Remembered (directed by Martin Charnin), including Jay Johnson Armstrong performing “Something’s Coming”. The evening was presented by Dancers Over 40, with special music arrangements by Ross Baum and music direction by Curtis Reynolds. It was videotaped and donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts. Almost a month later, on 26 October, the documentary was screened at Lincoln Center Library. West Side Story Revisited: A 60th Anniversary Tribute was presented first in concert form at the Manhattan School of Music on 24 February and then in a shortened club version at Dizzy’s CocaCola at Lincoln Center Jazz on 10 April. The MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra was led by Musical
and Film Archive. Despite wide acclaim and stellar box office, due to the theatre’s unavailability and Gyllenhaal’s busy film schedule, the production was a strictly limited engagement. For the final week, the gross was $1,278,395 (115%), making it Sondheim’s first million-dollar week. Several celebrities stopped by to see the revival but the biggest mention went to Mandy Patinkin, the original George, who was said to be crying during the show, and then backstage with Gyllenhaal also in tears. At the final curtain, Gyllenhaal kept his speech brief. After thanking Sondheim and Lapine for the piece, and being able to perform in the beautiful Hudson, he said: “My heart is so full, I cannot say any more.” Sunday began as a one-off concert at City Center’s Encores! last October with the same leads.When an opening appeared in the actor’s schedule the production moved to the Hudson on Broadway.
The Stephen Sondheim Society Director Bobby Sanabria, who specialises in Latin jazz and who conducted and arranged the AfroCuban (not Afro-Puerto Rican?) evening. The very vocal Sanabria spoke of Leonard Bernstein and “the streets of New York City.” The suite of songs opened with “Jet Song,” where Sanabria joined in on the drums, as he did with “America”. Integrating guiro, timbale, maraca and cabasa instruments gave Bernstein’s music a nice Latin sound and the audience provided hand claps and finger snaps. “Tonight” had a slower tempo and “Dance at the Gym” rocked the house, especially when Sanabria brought up a couple from the floor to dance. Before finishing with the “Epilogue,” Sanabria said: “Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Jerry Robbins… What a bunch of crazy dudes but thank God they put this together.” Amen. Sanabria encored his tribute on 27 November. Playbill.com got a blurb from Sondheim and Prince on the musical’s anniversary. Sondheim mentioned anticipation: “A moment that Jerry, Arthur and I looked forward to each night
was when a certain song began, one which Lenny was a good deal more fond of than we were. It allowed us to meet in the lobby for a cigarette.” Prince commented on the musical not being recognised as the groundbreaking show it became. “Of course most people don’t know that it didn’t win Best Musical. Actually, most people don’t know what did win Best Musical. And ultimately that’s because it isn’t very important historically, is it? The show has achieved historical status because it was unprecedented, the merger of classical dance, Bernstein’s score, Sondheim’s lyrics, and very importantly Arthur Laurents’ creation of a language for street kids which could merge the artistic elements and persuade an audience that we were observing members of two gangs. “A very difficult task and a team of brilliant artists pulled it off. Why was it not recognised as such when it first opened? Well, you can put that down to the fact that it was new, that the critics did not recognise how new it was, and the public had to adjust to its newness over time.
Overtures minus three Pacific Overtures ended its successful Off-Broadway run at Classic Stage Company on 18 June (previews began on 6 April). The revival opened on 4 May to positive reviews and was extended by one week. CSC’s new Artistic Director, John Doyle, directed and designed the revival and he made significant cuts to the kabuki-like musical, which several critics carped about. Aside from substantial edits to John Weidman’s libretto, three songs were deleted from the score: “Chrysanthemum Tea,” a song in which a shogun’s mother poisons her son (the mother had been cut); the “Lion’s Dance,” which featured an angry dance by Commodore Perry to close out the first act (Perry was also cut); and “March to the Treaty House.” The cuts also altered the lead role of the Reciter, played with quiet, nuanced dignity by George Takei. The Reciter performed other roles (that were cut) but remained
“Clearly the show ran and paid off, and by the time the film emerged some years later everyone had caught up.That is not unique to adventurous material. It happened the same way with Cabaret. Some shows that were not even successful emerging have reached popular cult status in interim years. Follies and Parade are good examples.” In conjunction with the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall and the Museum of the City of New York, Google+ launched an exhibit online to commemorate the show. The site features over 1000 photos, as well as interviews and videos from the Library’s vast collection. The website includes sections on the inspiration behind the story, ten things you might not know about the show, the social impact, stage to screen, the legacy, and a section on Sondheim. This site can bring you there: https://www.google.com/ culturalinstitute/beta/project/ west-side-story. Next year marks the centennial of Bernstein and Robbins, so there will be more tributes on the way, and this year marks the centennial of Laurents.
both prominent, though separate, from the action. Doyle is known for his cast doubling as the orchestra but thankfully not in this case. Jonathan Tunick re-orchestrated his original work, this time for nine musicians, which featured a string quartet, one wind player, two percussionists and two keyboard players. The intimate, 199-seat CSC setting was perfect for musical director Gregg Jarrett and musical supervisor Rob Berman to make the score sound full and gorgeous.
sondheim the magazine Sweeney sells its 20,000th pie Sweeney Todd continues its long run at Off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theater. The revival’s terrific Tooting performers took their final bow on 9 April. Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd), Siobhán McCarthy (Mrs Lovett), Duncan Smith (Judge Turpin) and Joseph Taylor (Tobias) recreated their roles from the Tooting Arts Club and the pop-up production in the West End. They were succeeded by Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello in the two lead roles. Lewis played the role until 13 August when David Michael Garry briefly stepped into the role until 27 August. Hugh Panero then took on the title role on 29 August. Joining the “Every now and then, a country goes a little wrong” Assassins was presented as a concert by City Center’s Encores! Off-Center from 12 to 15 July. Directed by Ann Kaufman, the Sondheim-John Weidman revuelike musical received positive reviews but critics noted uneven staging and performances. Considering the four-day rehearsal period, Kaufman and company did a fine job. Only once, in the beginning of the show, were Sondheim’s lyrics construed as analogous to the present. After the Balladeer, played by Clifton Duncan, sang: “Every now and then, the country goes a little wrong,” there was long, loud, show-stopping applause. Assassins can be uncomfortable, and hilarious, and Kaufman brings to the fore the ever-topical subject of guns, which are featured even more prominently throughout the show. Sondheim’s score, evoking different styles of music to match the eras, is an unparalleled wonder. Steven Pasquale was a charismatic John Wilkes Booth, Shuler Hensley’s Leon Czolgosz was shattering and Victoria Clark was the funniest Sarah Jane Moore I’ve seen. Other standouts were Alex Brightman (Giuseppe Zangara), John Ellison Conlee (Charles Guiteau), Ethan Lipton (the Proprietor), Erin Markey (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), Cory Michael Smith (Lee Harvey Oswald) and Danny Wolohan (Samuel Byck). Rounding out the company were Damian Baldet, Eddie Cooper, Andrew Durand, Eryn Lecroy, Hudson Loverro and Pearl Sun. Michael Starobin used his orchestrations from the 2004 Broadway revival for the 12-piece orchestra, which was on a platform above the cast and sounded thrilling, helped by musical director Chris Fenwich. Donyal Werle and Clint Ramos were the scenic and costume designers respectively, and Lorin Latarro choreographed. As with Merrily We Roll Along in 2014, OffCenter presented its Lobby Project, which offers
new leads are Stacie Bono (Beggar Woman/Adolfo Pirelli), Jake Boye (Anthony Hope), Michael James Leslie (Judge Turpin), Eryn Lecroy (Johanna), John-Michael Lyles (Tobias) and John Rapson (Beadle Bamford) The production recouped its $1.22 million investment in just 24 weeks. The show recently sold its 20,000th pie! Chef Bill Yosses will be baking special pies through the upcoming holidays. Directed by Bill Buckhurst, the Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler classic began previews 14 February prior to an official opening 1 March. Sweeney Todd has extended its Off-Broadway engagement, again, through to 25 February 2018. songwriters a chance to create an original song, inspired by “The Gun Song.” Winners presented their compositions before most evening performances, participated in a nightly panel to discuss their entry and the winning songwriters were awarded $300. Separately, Assassins was presented at Yale University in March, where Weidman and Sondheim spoke on 19 March. According to notes, Sondheim did not see the performance, but took time out of his busy schedule. (“I should not be here!” he explained.) Weidman said he has a dream project he’s been unable to convince Sondheim of: a musical based on the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, which the librettist described as “the beginning of the end of the world”. Both said the original script of Assassins is very close to what the Yale Rep staged and is the show they wanted to write. They chastised directors who think they can “fix” their shows with their “vision.” Weidman said: “The three shows Stephen and I have written are odd. You want them to be done accurately.” Asked about the relevance of Assassins, Sondheim said: “John is a political playwright. The three shows we wrote were a trilogy of political plays.” Weidman added that “one of the things I wanted to discover, seeing this production, was what it was like post-Trump.” Sondheim praised John Doyle for his productions of Sweeney Todd and Road Show, and said that Assassins was originally going to deal with assassinations dating back to Julius Caesar, and was to include Citizen Marat and Harvey Milk. He added that when he composes, “I become the actor playing a part. That’s how I enter the song.” Also, he said that for years he tried to “woo” playwright Peter Shaffer (Equus, Amadeus) into writing a musical with him, but Shaffer would tell him, “You’d have all the fun!”
The Stephen Sondheim Society Mixed reviews for Prince Prince of Broadway finally opened on Broadway on 24 August 2017 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Presented by the Manhattan Theatre Club and Gorgeous Entertainment, the revue of Harold Prince musicals was extended by one week and closed on 29 October, having received mixed reviews. The musical had a bumpy ride to the Great White Way. Funding fell through from several producers (some of whom made millions from The Phantom of the Opera, which Prince directed) for a Broadway production that was scheduled in 2013. After a long period, a Japanese investor stepped in and the initial
production had a pre-Broadway tryout in Tokyo and Osaka in 2015. Prince of Broadway included songs from the many musicals that earned him a record 21Tony Awards. As expected, the revue heavily featured the SondheimPrince collaborations during their spectacular partnership with songs from West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. (Omitted were A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which Prince produced, Pacific Overtures and Bounce, which he directed.) The cast featured Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Bryonha Marie Parham, Emily Skinner,
Plenty of Friedman in Boston and NYC Maria Friedman’s wonderful 2012 Olivier Award winning London production of Merrily We Roll Along was restaged at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company from 13 September through 15 October. The acclaimed production also featured its two leading men from London: Mark Umbers (Frank) and Damian Humbley (Charley). Eden Espinosa played Mary, to complete the trio. The musical is the third of the Huntington’s Sondheim Cycle, which plans to present 15 of his musicals over the next several seasons. 2015 was A Little Night Music and last year Sunday in the Park with George. Friedman is no stranger to Merrily: she played Mary in the 1992 production at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre, where Sondheim and Furth were on hand to revise. When she was later offered a chance to direct students for a schools production, she selected the musical. Representatives of The Menier Chocolate Factory then offered her a chance to stage the production in 2012, which then transferred to the West End and was broadcast in cinemas in 2013. It is available digitally. The production received universal raves, earning the most five stars in West End history. Sondheim has said it’s the best version of the show he’s seen. After Merrily’s opening in Boston, Friedman presented her acclaimed solo show, Lenny & Steve: The Music of Bernstein & Sondheim at the Huntington on 18 September. The next evening, she made her debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City with the same programme for five nights, (19–23 September). Jason Carr, her longtime collaborator, was the musical director and pianist. Asked what brought her back to New York
Brandon Uranowitz, Kaley Ann Voorhees, Michael Xavier, Tony Yazbeck and Karen Ziemba. Jason Robert Brown provided musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations, as well as the closing number. David Thompson wrote the book and Susan Stroman choreographed and co‑directed with Prince. Prince appeared in several post-show talk-backs to discuss the show and to speak about his new autobiography: Sense of Occasion. He was also honoured by MTC’s 2017 fall benefit on 23 October and the Dramatists Guild Fund at its annual Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars gala on 6 November, to which Sondheim was also invited.
City, Friedman told Playbill.com “Any opportunity I can get to come to my favourite city and sing I leap at, and Michael Feinstein is a friend of mine and I’m really excited to sing in his club. It’s great music and great lyrics, written by quintessential New Yorkers.” Friedman planned an all-Sondheim programme, but after singing “Somewhere,” Carr thought an evening of Sondheim and Bernstein would be exciting. Her incredible voice, phrasing and acting made this an exceptional evening. During “Another Hundred People”, she went into Marta’s monologue from Company and she also combined a lovely version of “A Little Bit in Love” (by Bernstein) with “I Have a Love.” Carr joined her on “Getting Married Today.”“Broadway Baby” was done shyly at first, then she belted the ending (a la Julia McKenzie in Side by Side by Sondheim). She told a funny story about performing the song at a gala benefit at the Drury Lane Theatre, in a track suit, insisting that the character would wear something so informal. She was so broke (she had three jobs at the time) she couldn’t afford a gala dress and was in awe of being there with Elaine Paige, Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters, who were on the bill. She beautifully blended “Take Care of This House” (by Bernstein) and “Children Will Listen.” She sang the extra verse in a very sad and tearful “Send in the Clowns” and finished with the song that started the show, “Somewhere.” Her encore was a hilarious “Gee, Officer Krupke” donning a police cap and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap (always a risky thing in New York City). She had such a ball performing the song, she stopped several time due to laughter.
sondheim the magazine
“Capable of every emotional temperature” Sondheim was also honoured by the New York Festival of Song on 19 April at Carnegie Hall’s Weil Recital Hall. Honouring Stephen Sondheim was the NYFOS’s 29th annual gala benefit, with Jamie Bernstein and Hal Prince serving as co-chairs. The gala was conceived by NYFOS founders and music directors Steve Blier and Michael Barrett. In a press statement Blier said: “I’ve always been dazzled by Stephen Sondheim’s songs, and my appreciation has only increased with the years. His lyrics have an uncanny precision – every rhyme, every metaphor honed to the sharpest point. His words are welded to music of enormous variety – by turns lyrical, declamatory, sentimental, ironic, and steely, and he is capable of every emotional temperature, from the blazing heat of Sweeney Todd to the aloof chilliness of Georges Seurat.
how to hold on to the America we know and love, we are thinking of the America that Stephen Sondheim has revealed to us. A place that’s vibrant, expressive, dissonant and dramatic, moral/immoral, yearning, despairing, fanciful, and always, funny. An America that’s far from ideal – but that grapples with its flaws earnestly, if imperfectly. A place that’s empathic to the vulnerable and broken, honest… “Stephen Sondheim has described art as ‘an attempt to bring order out of chaos. ’ He has used his art to order the chaos of our moment in time. He has refused to allow his art to be enlisted in service of suppression of others. He has stood up for creative freedom and, thereby, for all of us. PEN America’s mission is to use art as an antidote to chaos, mobilising writers and artists to defend the liberties that are at the beating heart of a civilised and open society. So, for these reasons, it’s my great honour to present the lion-hearted Stephen Sondheim with PEN America’s PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. ” Sondheim graciously received the Award, saying: “Thank you, thank you very much. You thought that was an actress? That’s a writer. When I first
Sondheim honoured by PEN America On 25 April at the American Museum of Natural History, Sondheim was recognised by PEN America. [PEN originally stood for “Poets, Essayists, and Novelists”, although now extends to “Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists”; the organisation works to advance literature and defend free expression. ] The literary gala had a distinct political feel as the evening opened with a clip showing current writers who were arrested or murdered “for words. ” PEN America President Andrew Solomon began the benefit by saying it’s the largest and most successful gala PEN America has had, raising almost $2 million. Meryl Streep, who was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of the Witch in the film version of Into the Woods, began the tribute talking about her associations with Sondheim (she was in the chorus of The Frogs at Yale University) and spoke of Woods. She continued: “There are not enough superlatives to do justice to Sondheim’s talent and his life’s work. But, it’s hard not to see special meaning in Stephen receiving this award, this year… And when we debate whether and
“I love and respect Sondheim’s art, where intelligence merges with fire to create eloquence of the highest order. It will be a thrill to celebrate his magnificent work.” The evening began with Barrett helping Blier to the piano, then sitting next to him as a co-player and page turner. Blier has muscular dystrophy, but that neither stopped him from playing beautifully nor moderating the benefit with his
charm, insight, wit and intelligence. He spoke of Sondheim and his work as having “an evergreen quality – I never get tired of it.” Among the highlights were Pamela Myers, the original Marta in Company, who performed Sondheim’s gift to her: “Another Hundred People.” She was her usual perky, funny self, entertaining the audience with stories of the groundbreaking musical, while
The Stephen Sondheim Society
giving a shout-out to another original Company cast member, Donna McKechnie, who was in the audience. She then delved right into her monologue from the musical: “You wanna know why I came to New York City?” which brought the house down. When introducing the next performer, Blier informed the audience that he played piano for Ron Raines in 1979! Blier had heard “The Road You Didn’t Take” for years, “but never played it – you hear all jiggered rhythms when you play it… in the two A sections – the second has two extra bars. Breeziness and anguish.” He then called Follies “the most mysterious and fascinating of musicals.”Raines, who was Tonynominated for playing Ben Stone in the 2011 Broadway revival, then performed the haunting song. Raines told a story about having problems with that song during rehearsals when Bernadette Peters (who played Sally Durant Plummer) urged him to call Sondheim, who told him: “You have to understand,
of imagination fostered by parents who don’t understand or teachers who aren’t interested. That’s why I and some other writers at the Dramatists Guild started the Young Playwrights Festival over 30 years ago – a competition open to writers 18 years and younger from every state in the country, and their winning plays get professional productions OffBroadway. “And that’s where PEN comes in: an organisation that defends freedom of thought and expression. Young people here need that freedom just as much as oppressed writers in other countries, only in a different way. So maybe this award isn’t quite as startling as I thought, if I can share it with my cohorts over the years at Young Playwrights. I’m also glad you like my songs. Thank you. ” After the award was presented, Audra McDonald sang “The Glamorous Life”. As she performed, she suddenly stopped, realising she sang the wrong lyrics: “I’m so sorry! I have to start again. This is a writer’s audience and I messed up the words!” she told the chuckling audience. She finished the song and (according to an article) later emailed an apology to Sondheim, who was understanding.
everything Ben says is a lie.” Myers then joined Raines as the two performed the scintillating “You Must Meet My Wife. ”A suite of songs from Sweeney Todd then followed: “Pretty Women,” with Raines and Greer Grimsley; “A Little Priest” featured Grimsley and his wife, Luretta Bybee (both performed in Sweeney Todd at The Glimmerglass Festival last summer), as well as the “By the Sea,” followed by “Epiphany” with Raines, and then “Not While I’m Around,” sung beautifully by Theo Hoffman. The lovely evening ended with Myers singing “Broadway Baby” directly to Hal Prince – literally: “Hey, Mr Producer, I’m talking to you, sir!”
Left: Donna McKechnie and Pamela Myers. Below: Hal Prince congratulations Sondheim on his New York Festival of Song honours. Bottom: Ron Raines and Pam Myers perform “You Must Meet My Wife”.
heard that I was to receive this award, I was not only honoured, but startled. I write songs for musicals, for God’s sake – musicals, the runt of the arts. Not poems, not novels, not essays, not works of history, songs. But then I thought: If institutions of higher learning now not only offer courses in the subject but have entire departments devoted to musical theatre, if you can sign up for Cole Porter 101–102, if Bob Dylan can win the Nobel Prize, maybe it’s okay to take musicals seriously. But not too seriously. But then I thought: According to the guidelines, the PEN/ Allen Award is supposed to go to ‘an author whose work embodies PEN America’s mission to oppose repression in any form and to champion the best of humanity’. “Well, I’ve made a few passive political gestures, like turning down a medal or like writing the score for a show about America’s gunboat diplomacy in the nineteenth century, but unlike some of this award’s recipients, I can’t say that A Little Night Music or Follies has helped to oppose repression or champion humanity. “But then I thought: There are other repressions besides political ones. There’s the repression
sondheim the magazine Honouring Stephen O’Sondheim Sondheim was again honoured, this time by the Irish Repertory with Sondheim at Seven at Town Hall on 12 June. In a press statement, Co-Artistic Director Charlotte Moore (who also directed the gala) said, “To have the music of Stephen Sondheim, performed by some of best voices in New York City, is a fitting way to celebrate and make this a truly special occasion.” Angela Lansbury was the evening’s host, along with Moore and co-Artistic Director Ciarán O’Reilly. Chair Ilene Begola said in a speech that they were “honouring that great Gaelic writer Stephen O’Sondheim!” The sold out event raised almost $500,000. With a screen in the back of the stage that showed photos of Sondheim and Playbill covers of his shows, Lansbury, looking radiant in a white satin pants suit, began the tribute with her recollections to “a man who I owe my musical theatre career to. They (Sondheim and librettist-director Arthur Laurents)
Mathew Imaging/LA Phil
Sondheim on Sondheim The Boston Pops Orchestra presented a new, shortened version of Sondheim on Sondheim at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts on 8 July. Keith Lockhart was the conductor and Sarna Lapine directed the semistaged, multimedia revue. The idea came from Lockhart, who proposed a symphonic version for the Pops: “I made the request of Stephen and he came back very enthusiastic about it, as was [librettist/director] James Lapine,” he told the Bennington Banner. “Then it took us the past couple of years to get the funding together and get a consortium of orchestras to do it.” Lapine (James) shortened the Broadway version to fit concert hall requirements. ”He also took the
wrote me a letter to appear in Anyone Can Whistle.” Lansbury would also star in Sweeney Todd, Gypsy and A Little Night Music. She spoke of Sondheim, his shows and songs, and his contributions to the theatre. Musical director John Bell began with a dazzling medley from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company and Merrily We Roll Along. Aside from Irish Rep regulars, there were several original and revival cast members from Sondheim musicals. Howard McGillen opened with “Everybody Says Don’t,” and did well, aside from missing a line. Ryan Silverman sang a haunting “No One Has Ever Loved Me,” seguing into “Loving You.” Malcolm Gets performed a slow tempo of “Another Hundred People” then played a melancholy piano on “So Many People,” and Danielle Ferland performed a heartening “Like it Was.” Jeremy Jordan received the biggest hand of the evening when he sang “Maria,” and Mark Evans
and Silverman performed “Agony,” which included the reprise. Irish Rep alumni Donna Cone delivered a roaring “I’m Still Here” and Rebecca Luker crushed it with “In Buddy’s Eyes.” Michael Cerveris wanted to sing a John McMartin song “for Charlotte,” Moore’s longtime partner who passed away in 2016. McMartin was the original Ben Stone in Follies. Cerveris sang a stunning version of “The Road You Didn’t Take.” Len Cariou struggled with “Now” but sang “Pretty Women” exquisitely. The third original cast member of Sweeney Todd, Ken Jennings, who played Toby, sang “Not While I’m Around.” Jennings, seeing Lansbury in the audience, was so overwhelmed, he had to start the song over. (One could only wish the three, or two, cast members of that groundbreaking musical would’ve performed together). Melissa Errico performed a poignant “Send in the Clowns,” Max von Essen belted “Being Alive” and the evening concluded with the chorus singing “Sunday.”
The company of Sondheim on Sondheim at the Hollywood Bowl on 23 July.
opportunity to rethink some of the flow, so even though all the pieces are in there, they’re in a radically different order than they were on Broadway.”
The evening featured a quartet of Broadway vocalists: Phillip Boykin, Carmen Cusack, Ruthie Ann Miles and Gabriel Ebert. They were joined by four vocal Fellows
The Stephen Sondheim Society Errico on “playing around” with Sondheim Melissa Errico brought her cabaret act, Melissa Errico Sings Sondheim, to Feinstein’s/54 Below on 3 June. She previously performed the show in Washington, D. C. , and told Playbill. com: “I can’t get enough of Sondheim. I feel so much respect. It fascinates me. I like to do his music straight from the shows, from the perspective of the characters and their circumstances, and sometimes - only gingerly - I like to rearrange the songs, play around with them musically… I think I just love his music and maybe equally, maybe more, his words. He makes me think, and sing. Think and sing. Or is it sing, then think, then feel? The answer is there somewhere. ” Errico has a history with Sondheim, of which she is very proud: He chose her to play Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration in 2002 (she let the audience know she wore Bernadette Peters’ costume in Sunday “with a few ruffles added”), and Clara in John Doyle’s CSC production of Passion in 2013. She was a terrific Leona in the City Center Encores! production of Do I Hear a Waltz? last May, and has appeared in several tributes. In fine voice, and very emotional at times, she was ably supported by pianist/arranger Ted Firth. She recounted several humorous anecdotes about Sondheim and Waltz with Sondheim telling her: “You were wonderful, most of the time. ” Sondheim let her know that “Passion begins and ends with an orgasm – compositionally. ” She admitted that “During crazy times, Sondheim’s music holds everything. It’s his humanity, his intelligence. ” She couldn’t get started on “Getting Married Today” because of a slip-up, but performed the of the Tanglewood Music Center’s academy: Katherine Beck, Daniel McGrew, Fontina Naumenko and William Socolof. The orchestrations were by Michael Starobin and David Loud was the musical director. The concert was recasted and remounted on 23 July for a benefit performance, again staged by Sarna Lapine, this time with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which performed “Children Will Listen”. The revue featured Vanessa Williams, who starred in the original 2010
song comically. (She also had problems with the song when she was called at the last minute to substitute for Barbara Cook at the reception of Sondheim’s Treasure Hunt at the Museum of Natural History in 2011). She admitted playing the lead in Sondheim’s least favourite show, then introduced her Waltz co-star, Richard Troxel, who sang “Take the Moment. ” They dueted on “Somewhere” and she performed a tearful “Send in the Clowns,” then ended by saying: “It’s nice to sing all of these grownup songs. ” She asked percussionist Damien Bassman to join her for “Children Will Listen” and to a nice samba beat ended with “Not While I’m Around. ” Errico encored her cabaret show at Feinstein’s 54/Below on 17–18 November and is working on an allSondheim album. In another Sondheim show at the famed cabaret, Spanish singer Joan Vázquez, made his debut with Something’s Coming: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, on 5 July. A week earlier, he performed the programme at London’s Live at Zédel. Regarding Sondheim’s work he says: “Sondheim is my favourite composer since I played Frank in Merrily We Roll Along in Barcelona and my admiration won’t stop growing. He can take me with just one chord and sometimes with even less. You always know it’s him. His words are beyond. So deep and yet so simple. He’s a wizard. ” The charming and engaging singer accompanied himself on the piano, quoted Sondheim throughout the evening, and sang the 18-song set beautifully. He repeated the show at the Metropolitan Room in New York City on 6 September. His debut album, of the same title, is available on iTunes.
Broadway production, Lewis Cleale, Claybourne Elder, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Solea Pfeiffer, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Jonathan Groff and three holdovers from Tanglewood: Carmen Cusack, Ruthie Ann Miles and Phillip Boykin. The production was choreographed by Michele Lynch with lighting design by Ken Billington, and video created and designed by Peter Flaherty. Lockhart will present the European premiere on the BBC in London next March. Sondheim spoke by phone about the retrospective with the Los Angeles Times a week before the Hollywood Bowl concert: “I had
my usual, ‘Oh, I hate being in the spotlight’ stuff,” he admitted, “but knowing that it was Jim, I just knew it was in good hands. There are some things that will surprise an audience,” Sondheim promises. ”I’m pretty open about some stuff in the interviews. James said there was no point in doing it unless I was sort of open and frank about it. And I said, ‘Sure, OK, ask me questions. Tell me what you want to know.’ I figure, you know, what the heck, it’s interesting for people to know about the lives of writers whose work they like. I remember seeing an interview [continued over]
Mathew Imaging/LA Phil
sondheim theand magazine LA Philharmonic YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)
with Cole Porter when I was in my teens, and I just loved it. It’s like, ‘Yeah, oh, that’s the guy who writes these things.’ That’s the fun of it, a glimpse into the personality of the writer… “The whole thing that makes it exciting for me is the orchestra aspect. New York theatres were not built for large orchestras, back in the early 20th century. The orchestrator has to be able to fit the instruments into the budget but also fit the bodies into the pit. To have not only a first-rate orchestra but a large orchestra – that’s very thrilling for a composer, particularly a composer of theatre songs. And nobody has an orchestra like the LA Phil.” The articled continued: So why isn’t he making the trip west? It’s not because he’s slowing down at age 87 – though he does remark matter-of-factly. “I think about my own death all the time, now that I’m so close to it.” Sondheim makes a point of seeing the many new productions of his work but he can’t be in two places at once, and he did see the Tanglewood
concert. And he visited London to see the new production of Follies at the National Theatre. “I’m really distressed that I can’t be out there for Sondheim on Sondheim,” he says. “But I have a live baby 6,000 miles away… It’s been a banner season. Here in New York there’s Sweeney Todd, which is still running, and there was Sunday in the Park with George, and right now as we speak, Assassins. And Company’s going to be done later in the year, directed by Marianne Elliott – and get this, with a female Bobby.” He elaborated: “The thing about the theatre as opposed to movies and television is, it’s malleable. What keeps theatre alive is that every generation there are new actors to play Hamlet. I mean, it’s not the only reason Hamlet’s still alive, because it’s a great play, but it wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t performed, and performed by new people. In the movie of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, Olivier is still giving the same performance he gave 40 years ago. But if he were alive and doing it, he’d be doing it
differently. Shows are performed and, most important, directed by different people, and that keeps them alive. If you’ve got somebody as distinguished and inventive and good as Marianne Elliott, and she says, ‘I would love to do Company with a female central character. ’…What is there to lose? It can only make the play either interesting or, if you dislike it… dislikable… but still. I’m fumfering here, but the point is: That’s what keeps the theatres alive. So I’m always open.” Somebody once suggested a version of Merrily We Roll Along told in conventional rather than reversed chronology. “That was so stupid I can hardly bring words to it,” Sondheim says with a good-natured sigh. “Theatre is always vulnerable to directors who want to do something ‘capital D different’ for the sake of it,” he concluded. “But the idea of different orchestras doing Sondheim on Sondheim is thrilling to me. ” The complete interview can be found at: https://tinyurl. com/SSSLATimes
UK SHOW CALENDAR This information is kindly supplied by Josef Weinberger Ltd, 12–14 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JJ Tel. 020 7580 2827 Professional listings
A Funny Thing Happened … Wharf Theatre, 27 Apr–5 May 2018, Wharf Theatre, Devizes
National Theatre, until 3 Jan 2018 The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… Phoenix Artist Club, London, 5 Feb / 5 Mar / 2 Apr (dates TBC) Company Gielgud Theatre, London, 26 Sep–22 Dec 2018
WYSPAS, 31 May–2 Jun 2018, Hughenden Valley Village Hall, High Wycombe
Livingston Players, 30 May–3 Jun 2018, Howden Park Centre, Howden, Livingston Pick Me Up Theatre, 27 Jun–15 Jul 2018, John Cooper Studio Theatre, York Horsham A.O. & D.S., 6–10 Nov 2018, Capitol Theatre, Horsham.
Assassins (2004 Broadway Version) Portsmouth Players, 13–16 Jun 2018, The Players Studio Theatre, Portsmouth
Into The Woods Ampleforth College, 24–27 Jan 2018, Ampleforth College, Ampleforth, York.
Follies Walmsley Church A.O. & D.S., 30 Apr– 5 May 2018, Parish Theatre, Bolton
UCLU, 15–17 Feb 2018, The Shaw Theatre, London NW1
The Stephen Sondheim Society Carrick-On-Suir Musical Society, 3–10 Mar 2018, Strand Theatre, Carrick-On-Suir, Co. Tipperary Lark, 5–10 Mar 2018, CMWS Community Hall, Kildare. University of Chichester, 8–9 Mar 2018, University of Chichester, Chichester Uckfield Theatre Guild, 12–14 Apr 2018, Uckfield Technology Community College, Uckfield Worcester Operatic And Dramatic Society, 17–21 Apr 2018, Swan Theatre, Worcester Horsham A.O. & D.S., 17–21 Apr 2018, The Capitol, Horsham, West Sussex Kingsbury A.O.S., 9–12 May 2018, Pump House Theatre & Arts Trust, Watford, Herts. Pantheon Club (Glasgow) Ltd, 15–19 May 2018, Websters Theatre, Glasgow Letchworth Arcadians, 30 May–2 Jun 2018, St Christopher School, Letchworth Exmouth Musical Theatre Company, 5–9 Jun 2018, The Pavilion, Exmouth. Lincoln A.O. & D.S., 18 –23 Jun 2018, Performing Arts Centre, Lincoln Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, 20–22 Jun 2018, Tom Fleming Centre, Stewart’s Melville College, Edinburgh GDS Productions, 1–31 Oct 2018 (4 perfs), Central Theatre, Chatham. Thornbury Musical Theatre Group, 24–27 Oct 2018, Armstrong Hall, Thornbury, Glos. Little Theatre Company, 27 Nov–1 Dec 2018, The Brewhouse, Burton On Trent Merrily We Roll Along Rickmansworth Players, 1–5 May 2018, Pump House Theatre, Watford, Herts. University of Chichester, 2–10 May 2018, Regis Centre, Bognor Regis, Corn Exchange, Newbury, & The Old Market, Hove. Putting It Together Park Street Performing Arts School, 6–8 Apr 2018, Park Street Performing Arts School, Hull
Sweeney Todd City Academy, 27 Nov–3 Dec 2017, The Ditch, Shoreditch Town Hall, London EC1V Canolfan Berfformio Cymru, 20–22 Dec 2017, Gate Arts Centre, Roath, Cardiff Cambridge Operatic Society, 16–20 Jan 2018, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge Glasgow Music Theatre, 23–27 Jan 2018, Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, Glasgow. Wycombe Swan, 16–18 Feb 2018, Old Town Hall, High Wycombe Coalville Amateur Operatic Society, 13–17 Mar 2018, Hind Leys Community College, Shepshed. Stage 8 Theatre School Ltd, 20–24 Mar 2018, Gwyn Hall, Neath. Ellesmere Musical Theatre Company, 25–28 Apr 2018, The Montgomery Theatre, Sheffield Adlington Music & Arts Society, 1–5 May 2018, Adlington Community Centre, Adlington, Chorley. Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust, 17– 19 May 2018, Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton, Wirral The Barnstormers, 6–10 Aug 2018, Minack Theatre, Penzance Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society, 9–13 Oct 2018, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil Burton Musical Theatre Company, 23–27 Oct 2018, De Ferrers Academy, Burton-On-Trent Sweeney Todd - School Edition Holy Cross College, 6–8 Mar 2018, Holy Cross College, Bury Ysgol Plasmawr, 12–15 Mar 2018, Ysgol Plasmawr, Cardiff Oatlands College, 12–15 Mar 2018, Oatlands College Sports Hall, Mount Merrion, Co. Dublin.
St Ivo School, 6–8 Feb 2018, St Ivo School, Huntingdon, Cambs. Tiverton Junior Operatic Club, 12–17 Feb 2018, The New Hall, Tiverton. Adlib Theatre Company, 18 Feb 2018, Landau Forte Academy Tamworth Sixth Form, Tamworth. Hartshorn - Hook Foundation, 21 Feb–24 Mar 2018 (10 perfs), R.N.C.M, Tramway & Printworks, Manchester, Glasgow & London Tab Amateur Operatic Society, 5–10 Mar 2018, Town Hall, Stourbridge Bedford Modern School, 7–10 Mar 2018, Bedford Modern School, Bedford Chelmsford Young Generation, 17–21 Apr 2018, The Civic Theatre, Chelmsford. X-Rays, 18–21 Apr 2018, Bacup Royal Court Theatre, Rossendale Dartford A.O. & D.S., 18–21 Apr 2018, Orchard Theatre, Dartford Aldridge Musical Comedy Society, 17–19 May 2018, Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock, Staffs. Belfast Music & Drama Society, 21–25 Aug 2018, Grand Opera House, Belfast Performing Stars Academy, 7–15 Sep 2018, Melton Theatre, Melton Mowbray. Lichfield Garrick Youth Theatre, 25–29 Sep 2018, Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Lichfield. Limelight Productions, 3–6 Oct 2018, Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline University of Portsmouth Dramatic & Musical Soc., 8–10 Mar 2018, New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth. Bournemouth & Boscombe L.O.C., 16–20 Oct 2018, Pavillion, Bournemouth
West Side Story LVS Ascot, 20–22 Jan 2018, LVS Ascot, Ascot, Berkshire
Northampton Musical Theatre Company, 22–27 Oct 2018, Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton
Carmarthen & District Youth Opera, 1–28 Feb 2018 (8 perfs), Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen
Pantheon Club (Glasgow) Ltd, 20–24 Nov 2018, King’s Theatre, Glasgow
From the archive…
Signed poster – Sunday in the Park with George Jake Gyllenhaal, Annaleigh Ashford and the company of Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theatre in New York kindly signed and donated a poster on the day of the last performance. The Society would like to thank Claybourne Elder – who played the Soldier – for arranging an exclusive visit to the theatre for a Q&A and to meet some of the cast.