Saturday, November 27, 2021

Stephen Sondheim 1930-2021

Stephen Sondheim has died.  I was not a connoisseur.  He was responsible for the lyrics to Bernstein's West Side Story, for me the greatest of all American musicals.  A new movie version of this is coming out on December 10 which I must see.

West Side Story  [lyrics only]

  • I loved the original movie of this with Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno.  It was done at the Sacramento Music Circus in 2015 where I saw it live.  I seem to have complained about the production.

Sweeney Todd   Since I began blogging I have seen three different versions of this show.

  • In 2008 came the incredible movie starring Johnny Depp as the demon barber,  Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett and Sacha Baron Cohen.  I seem to have enjoyed it rather more than expected.
  • In 2014 the New York Philharmonic put on a semi-staged version with an amazing cast:  Bryn Terfel as Todd, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett, Erin Mackey as Johanna and Audra McDonald as The Beggar Woman.  They made this work and made a fantastic group.
  • In 2015 the San Francisco Opera presented it as an opera which I saw live.  It didn't fill the seats.  The cast:  Sweeney Todd: Brian Mulligan, Mrs. Lovett: Stephanie Blythe, Johanna: Heidi Stober and Beggar Woman: Elizabeth Futral.  Stephanie is great in anything she does.  I feel like I've done this, but nothing erases the Mrs Lovett of Angela Lansbury.

Sunday in the Park with George   I tried to see this in London, but couldn't get a ticket.

  • So instead I saw it live on Broadway in 2008.  It set me to thinking about art.

Into the Woods It's a mash up of fairy tale stories.

  • In 2013 I saw this live presented by the Sacramento Light Opera theater.   I enjoyed it.
  • Then in 2015 came the movie with Meryl Streep.  I called it an excellent film adaptation.

It is strange to realize that there are no hit tunes from any of these where the music is by Sondheim.  I haven't seen A Little Night Music.

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