Thursday Open Thread: American Musical Theater- Stephen Sondheim Week

More from Mr. Sondheim.

Collaborations with Hal Prince (1970–1981)[edit]

sondheim and prince
Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince

After the completion of Do I Hear a Waltz, Sondheim devoted himself to both composing and writing lyrics for a series of varied and adventurous musicals. Sondheim collaborated with producer/director Harold Prince on six musicals between 1970 and 1981, beginning with the innovative “concept musical” Company in 1970. Company (1970) centered on a set of characters and themes rather than a straightforward plot. With a book by George Furth, the show opened on April 26, 1970 at the Alvin Theatre, where it ran for 705 performances after seven previews. It would go on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Music, and Best Lyrics, among others.

company the musical-1

Follies (1971), with a book by James Goldman, follows a night where. It opened on April 4, 1971 at the Winter Garden Theatre and it closed after 522 performances and 12 previews. The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the “Weismann’s Follies,” a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies), that played in that theatre between the World Wars. It focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Benjamin and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion.

After Follies was A Little Night Music (1973), a more traditionally plotted show based on the film Smiles of a Summer Night by Ingmar Bergman, was one of his greatest successes. Time magazine called it “Sondheim’s most brilliant accomplishment to date.”[31] Notably, the score was mostly composed in waltz time (either ¾ time, or multiples thereof.) Further success was accorded to A Little Night Music when “Send in the Clowns” became a hit single for Judy Collins. Although it was Sondheim’s only Top 40 hit, his songs are frequently performed and recorded by cabaret artists and theatre singers in their solo careers. A Little Night Music opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on February 25, 1973, and closed on August 3, 1974 after 601 performances and 12 previews. It moved to the Majestic Theatre on September 17, 1973 where it completed its run.


company the musical-2


By Bernstein premiered at the off-Broadway Westside Theatre on November 23, 1975 and closed on December 7, 1975. It ran for 40 previews and 17 performances. The lyrics and music were by Leonard Bernstein, with additional lyrics from other lyricists, including Sondheim. It was conceived and written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and Norman L. Berman. The production was directed by Michael Bawtree with a cast of Jack Bittner, Margery Cohen, Jim Corti, Ed Dixon, Patricia Elliott, Kurt Peterson, and Janie Sell. The two known songs that had Sondheim contributions are “In There” from the adaption of The Exception and the Rule (which would later be named The Race to Urga) and a cut song from West Side Story “Kids Ain’t (Like Everybody Else)”.[32]

Pacific Overtures (1976) was the most non-traditional of the Sondheim—Prince collaborations, an intellectual exploration of the westernization of Japan.

Sweeney Todd (1979), Sondheim’s most operatic score and libretto (which, along with A Little Night Music, has been seen in opera houses), once again explores an unlikely topic, this time murderous revenge and cannibalism. The book, by Hugh Wheeler, is based on Christopher Bond’s 1973 stage version of the Victorian original.[33][34][35][36][37]

follies -2

Merrily We Roll Along (1981), with a book by George Furth, is one of Sondheim’s more “traditional” scores and was thought to hold potential to generate some hit songs (Frank Sinatra and Carly Simon each recorded a different song from the show). Sondheim’s music director, Paul Gemignani, said, “Part of Steve’s ability is this extraordinary versatility.” Merrily, however, was a 16-performance flop. “Merrily did not succeed, but its score endures thanks to subsequent productions and recordings. According to Martin Gottfried, “Sondheim had set out to write traditional songs … But [despite] that there is nothing ordinary about the music.”[38] Sondheim and Furth have extensively revised the show since its initial opening. Sondheim later stated, “Did I feel betrayed? I’m not sure I would put it like that. What did surprise me was the feeling around the Broadway community – if you can call it that, though I guess I will for lack of a better word – that they wanted Hal and me to fail.”[30]

a little night music

It took me years before I really understood this song. I think it’s one of the most haunting and beautiful songs ever written.

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23 Responses to Thursday Open Thread: American Musical Theater- Stephen Sondheim Week

    • Liza says:

      Just a kid.

      The DOJ better be all over this entire clusterf#ck in Ferguson/St. Louis, Missouri, and show up with some arrest warrants one of these days. I am WAITING.

      Not a GD thing is going to get better for these kids until some racist cop hears a cell door slamming behind him and gets put away for a lot of years. These killers with badges think they are above the law, some special breed that can kill with impunity if they choose to do so. They seem to have forgotten they are civil servants paid by citizens.

  1. rikyrah says:

    this Bish here

    see, this is why so many of us from Chicago CANNOT STAND SNEED.


    Sneed: What’s the secret to Valerie Jarrett’s security detail?

    Sneed exclusive . . .

    The Valerie shocker . . .

    Sneed hears White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who is this/close to President Barack Obama and his family, may be the worst abuser of her Secret Service security.

    As the Secret Service reels from agency bumbling and the forced resignation Wednesday of its director Julia Pierson, two top sources tell Sneed Jarrett uses her security detail to go everywhere with her except the bathroom.

    Sneed is told Jarrett, who was assigned round-the-clock personal bodyguards presumably through executive order by Obama in 2009, “practically uses her detail as a valet service,” said a Sneed source.

  2. rikyrah says:

    St. Louis Police Officer Shoots, Kills Teen During “Pedestrian Check”

    Police say the man fired at the officer first. Reports conflicted about how many times the man was shot. posted on Oct. 8, 2014, at 11:17 p.m.

    A St. Louis Police officer shot and killed a young man Wednesday evening, city police said.

    The incident that led to the shooting began about 7:30 p.m. CT when an off-duty officer noticed three men near the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Klemm Street in St. Louis. Police Chief Sam Dotson said during a news conference that the men began running when they saw the officer, who responded by chasing one of them.

    The officer was working as a security guard at the time, but wearing his St. Louis police uniform, Dotson said.

    The officer initially lost the man but found him again when he jumped out of a bush. Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins told the Associated Press a struggle then ensued.

    “The officer approached, they got into a struggle, they ended up into a gangway, at which time the young man pulled a weapon and shots were fired,” Adkins said. “The officer returned fire and unfortunately the young man was killed.”

    According to Dotson, the man fired at least three times. His gun then jammed, though he continued pulling the trigger. The officer fired 17 times. By early Thursday morning, investigators had recovered bullet casings from two guns, Dotson said, as well as a 9 mm Ruger believed to have belonged to the man.

    “The ballistic evidence indicates at least three different rounds at the office,” Dotson added.

  3. rikyrah says:

    In Case You Missed It

    The truth about racism in 140 Characters

  4. rikyrah says:

    They kill me trying to find an explanation for anything other than good old-fashioned RACISM.


    A Troubled American Moment
    As conspiracy theories abound, voters are uncertain about what to believe
    Joe Klein @JoeKleinTIME 6:11 AM ET

    “How do you feel about the federal government buying tons of ammunition for the post office in order to raise the price of ammo for gun owners?” was the first question I got at a town meeting in Shreveport, La. Kevin and Lois Martello, a dentist and speech therapist, respectively, had put together a group of 15 friends and neighbors to talk politics, and it was pretty intense from the start. I asked Lee Foshee, who had raised the post-office question, where he’d heard that. He told me he had several sources. One of them may have been the right-wing Breitbart website, I later learned, which has been tracking ammo sales to federal agencies. Breitbart didn’t mention the price-raising strategy, but Bill Kostelka, a certified public accountant, confirmed that he’d had to stand in line to buy .22-caliber rounds recently. (For the record: the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is armed and needs ammo from time to time.)MOREThe Paperless Classroom is ComingWhite House’s Weak SecurityMissing Jet Spiraled Into Sea When Fuel Ran Out: Report NBC NewsKeep Out: Americans Want Flights Banned From Ebola Countries NBC News17 Shots: Teen’s Killing by Cop Sparks Protests Near Ferguson NBC News

    It’s hard to know what to believe,” said Lois Martello, the host, who seemed as nonplussed by the post-office-ammo conspiracy as I was. She and her husband were a bit more moderate than some of their friends. “Especially in the election season,” she continued, “when all the ads are on the air. But even on the news, it’s hard to tell what’s real.” I was tempted to defend my profession, but we seemed to be in a full-fledged American Moment, and I didn’t want to kill the buzz. Anyway, Kevin Martello, Lois’ husband, tried to take the conversation “in a different direction,” he said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty concerned that the top 1% of the population controls 40% of the wealth in this country.”

    There were a couple of head nods but not much commentary. There was more concern about government waste than about unseen wealth. Indeed, another chorus of consternation ensued, this time about food stamps. Waylon Bates, the principal of the local middle school, said he’d seen people “buying T-bone steaks and giant bottles of orange soda” with government scrip. Others said they’d seen the very same thing. And Foshee said he’d seen long lines at a combination liquor store and check-cashing place–a fine establishment, no doubt–on the day the Social Security disability checks came out each month.

  5. rikyrah says:

    SEE IT: NYPD cop allegedly took more than $1K in cash from Brooklyn construction worker’s pocket during stop-and-frisk

    The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is investigating the Sept. 16 incident against the officer, which were recorded by a witness on a cell phone, the Daily News has learned.

    BY Kerry Burke , John Marzulli


    Published: Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 4:22 PM

    Updated: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 12:06 AM

    The Brooklyn district attorney’s office is investigating allegations that an NYPD cop swiped more than $1,000 from a man during a stop-and-frisk, then pepper-sprayed him and his sister when they complained, the Daily News has learned.

    The encounter was captured on a cell phone video, which has been turned over to prosecutors and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau.

    “One of the most disturbing things about the video is the other cops standing around watching and doing nothing to stop the wrongdoing,” lawyer Robert Marinelli said Wednesday.

    Marinelli represents the siblings who were pepper-sprayed — Lamard Joye, who claims the cop took $1,300 from his pocket, money that has still not been accounted for, and his sister Lateefah Joye, a professional basketball player in Europe, who tried to get the cop’s badge number.

    “I believe that this officer made an assumption that any money Mr. Joye possessed was obtained illegally and therefore he would not report the theft. This assumption was wrong. Mr. Joye is a hardworking taxpayer deserving respect,” said Marinelli.

    The brief clip begins with the unidentified cop pushing Lamard Joye against the fence of a basketball court at the Surfside Gardens housing project in Coney Island around 12:20 a.m. on Sept. 16.

    Right before the recording began, according to Marinelli, Joye remarked to the cop, “Are you going to do to me what you did to the guy in Staten Island?” a reference to Eric Garner, who died in July after a cop put him in a chokehold.

  6. rikyrah says:

    In Defense of Obama

    The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success

    By Paul Krugman | October 8, 2014

    When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue

    And I wasn’t wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP’s unwillingness to make even token concessions.

    But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

    I’ll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let’s take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

  7. rikyrah says:

    Casting News:

    Jennifer Lewis is going to be the Grandmother in Black-ish!

    her and Lawrence Fisburne?


  8. rikyrah says:

    GOP congressman doubles down on ‘categorically false’ border claim
    10/09/14 09:27 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) made a pretty extraordinary claim on Fox News this week, telling a national television audience on Tuesday night that 10 Islamic State militants were caught entering the United States through the Mexican border. The far-right congressman was categorical: Hunter said in no uncertain terms that this has already happened, but “there’s nobody talking about it.”

    The California Republican added that he knows this is true “because I’ve asked the Border Patrol.”

    Right-wing media outlets were predictably excited by the baseless claims – National Review, citing Hunter’s comments, asked, “Could the administration really successfully cover up something as big as this?” – but there’s a small problem. Neither Hunter nor his allies have any verifiable evidence to bolster the allegations. I mean that quite literally – there’s nothing from Border Patrol, nothing from other members of Congress or relevant committees, nothing from the Mexican government, and nothing from the Department of Homeland Security.

    On the contrary, DHS described the claim as “categorically false” and Secretary Jeh Johnson suggested Hunter has no idea what he’s talking about.

    And that leaves the far-right congressman with a choice: Hunter can scale back his explosive claims or he can stick to his guns. Take a wild guess which course the Republican prefers.
    Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said the congressman stands by his comments. “A high level source informed the congressman – it was also said that DHS is actively discouraging any talk of IS on the border,” Kasper said.

    “The congressman was conveying what he knows – and what he was told,” he said.

  9. rikyrah says:

    An ever-changing Senate landscape shifts once more
    10/09/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    A month ago, Michigan was supposed to be home to one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races, while South Dakota was largely seen as an afterthought. As of this week, however, Republicans have given up on the former, while Democrats have renewed hopes about the latter.
    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will spend $1 million in South Dakota – mostly on television and the rest on field operations – in a last-minute attempt to hold a U.S. Senate seat they now view as winnable, Bloomberg Politics has learned. A DSCC official said advertising will likely be on the air by Monday. As in the Kansas Senate race, Democrats believe they now have a chance to offset inevitable losses elsewhere and maintain control of the Senate.
    To put it mildly, this was unexpected. Democratic leaders have spent the last several weeks insisting that South Dakota was a lost cause, and with limited resources and a shrinking calendar, there was simply no point in even considering this race.

    But as we saw in Kansas last month, the landscape can change quickly. We talked yesterday in some detail about why South Dakota’s three-way contest has become more competitive, and internal Democratic polling reportedly found a close enough contest to warrant real investment.

    Note, Dems are now spending $1 million – and $1 million goes a long way in South Dakota – which at this late stage, isn’t a perfunctory, let’s-see-what-happens kind of investment. It’s a real effort.

    At this point, polls show a modest margin separating former Gov. Mike Rounds (R), Rick Weiland (D) and Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator who’s running as an independent. The Democratic investment will be focused on bringing down Rounds, who’s been plagued recently by a credible scandal, while a crowd-funded super PAC launched by Larry Lessig will invest another $1 million in support of boosting Weiland.

  10. Ametia says:

    Paltrow to host Obama fundrasier tonight

    Gwyneth Paltrow Will Host President Obama Fundraiser at Her Home
    Gwyneth Paltrow will host President Barack Obama for a fundraising event next month, PEOPLE confirms.

    The fundraiser, which was planned by the Democratic National Committee, will be held at the Oscar winner’s L.A. home on October 9.

  11. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone.

    Loving this week’s series on musical theater, especailly Mr. Sondheim’s contributions to it.

    And Send in the Clowns, Judy Collins slays this song like no other.

  12. vitaminlover says:

    Goooood Morning!! Off to work I go!

  13. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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