Sunday Sondheim: Finale of ‘Sweeney Todd’ – Korean Cast

 

This is one of the most marvelous versions I’ve ever seen, especially the technical aspects: superb lighting, chilling sound design (especially the machine sounds at beginning), and the scenic/staging design is brilliant, especially the ritualistic handwashing and the coats lifted aloft, first looking like a mass lynching and then a line of coats representing those people Sweeney killed.  Freakin’ marvelous!

Oh yeah, the music’s not bad either.  Who’s the composer again?  😉

     
     

Sunday Sondheim: A Weekend in the Country

I think this first-act finale is one of the finest writing Sondheim has every done.  From A Little Night Music, here’s Beverly Lambert, Michel Maguire, Maureen Moore, Regina Resnik, Kevin Anderson, Susan Terry and Danielle Ferland -  among other cast members – performing “A Weekend in the Country” at the Lincoln Center, 1990.

Sunday Sondheim: Every Day a Little Death

Maureen Moore and Beverly Lambert performed this amazing song in New York Opera’s production of Stephen Sondheim‘s A Little Night Music in 1990.

 

 

Comments of interest on YouTube:

I have probably never seen a more perfect performance of a Sondheim song. From her inflections to her noticing every assonance, every parallel, every nuance, especially the h of "horses" and "whores", as well as her glance shifting at "and I do". I’ve also never heard a more perfect delivery of the word "disgusting". All this with her voice & the subtlety of her expression, which is almost always fixed. Absolutely brilliant, and one of my favorite songs by the greatest songwriter of all time.

I…..believe that (Stephen Sondheim) being gay gives over to more sensitivities than straight men, especially when it comes to relationships with men. I don’t think that this discounts his intelligence or honesty. He is more perceptive to how it feels to be mistreated by a man than a straight man would be.

Sondheim is intelligent and honest, that’s why we he writes the way he does – NOT because he likes men. By your reasoning, all women should be able to write this way… so your statement is faulty.

I…disagree. Women and men can mistreat one another the same ways. But I believe Sondheim has actually not had much of a love life – he spoke about it very recently. For decades he was without a partner. One can learn enough [if not more] through friends and the understanding of human nature. And that’s why I mentioned his intelligence. If anything, that could be an attribute to his ability to present emotions the way he does. Most tend to shield their words.

    
    

Sunday Sondheim – Sarah Vaughan sings Send in the Clowns

The divine Sarah Vaughan sings Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music. Recording done in 1987.

 

I absolutely love the acappella section at 4-minutes.  Take a listen!

Sunday Sondheim: Raul Esparza and cast sing Side By Side (from Company)

Raúl Esparza and cast sing "Side By Side By Side" from the 2006 revival of Stephen Sondheim‘s Company.  This video is an excerpt from the highly recommended 2008 PBS DVD "Company."

 

 

In 2007, Company won Tony Awards for "Best Revival of a Musical" and "Best Direction of a Musical (John Doyle)." Raúl was nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The original 1970 production was nominated for 12 Tony awards and won 6 of them.

Interesting comment exchange

 

Ok., can someone explain why Raúl goes blank after his little kazoo bit and why he looks like he just came to a huge realization? 5 months ago

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  • well, his kazoo playing was not answered by a woman; when all the other men played their instruments they were answered by a woman. 4 months ago

     

    Bobby is the eternal bachelor. Everyone had a "response" from their spouse except him (as he’s single)…the "Side By Side" and "What Would I Do Without You" aspect that is reinforced as he is beside no one… 2 months ago

     

    It’s the realization he has no one to "play against." This part of the song is a form of call and response where the husband plays first and the wife next. Bobby clearly expects someone to jump in there but no one does and it’s a continuation of Bobby’s journey into possibly entertainiing something permanent. 2 months ago

    Sunday Sondheim: Ah, But Underneath – from Follies

     

    Dee Hoty takes off all of her clothes in concert version of Sondheim’s Follies.

    Sunday Sondheim: West Side Story was a national sensation in Portugal in 2009

    This is final bows of the final night of West Side Story in Portugal, presented by Teatro Politeama.  Watch the dance/bow sequences running through 3:40 – this is literally the most elaborate final bows I’ve ever seen. It really drives home the reach of Bernstein’s and Stephen Sondheim‘s work (and going even further back, William Shakespeare).. Looking at all of the YouTube videos surrounding this specific production, it seems that this was a national sensation, with the cast performing on the talk shows, morning shows, on late-night, etc.. Really amazing. Besides the final bows (just up to 3:40, as the rest is a speech by, I’m assuming, the director, Filipe La Féria), I have added what looks like an evening show’s performance of "America", the promo for the actual production, and a few other PR performances of the show.  By the way, isn’t that an absolutely amazing set??!!!

     

    Portuguese "West Side Story" promos below

     

    Teatro Politeama presents West Side Story, directed and produced by Filipe La Féria, starring Ricardo Soler as Tony, Cátia Tavares as Maria, and Lúcia Moniz as Anita.