I chose and my world was shaken, so what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not. Sunday In The Park With George.
The first thing that struck me about this article over at the Guardian Theatre Blog (and this one as well), was the picture. Stephen Sondheim does not look well. And that hurts my heart. True, it’s been a long time since I listened to any new Sondheim. Passion was the last ‘new’ work I listened to and having just looked this up, that was sixteen years ago. But I’m going to guess that not a week goes by that a line from Sweeney Todd is sung in our house. Or Sunday in the Park with George. Or Assassins, or Into the Woods, or…..you get the picture. The Broadway production of Sweeney Todd from a couple of years ago instilled my faith in theatre.
Can’t see the video? Click here.
My formative years were all about Sondheim. I just couldn’t believe, as a teen, that I was listening to musicals that were so off the beaten path. There’s some dark stuff out there. And even the so called ‘traditional’ musicals – I wore out my parents record for West Side Story. If asked what my influences are as a playwright, I put Sondheim at the top of the list.
Most musical lovers fall into two camps. For Sondheim and Against. Which side do you fall on? Maybe you think he’s too weird, too many notes, how come it goes flat there? If you’ve avoided him, do me and yourself a favour. Suss him out. Take the time to listen. He’s not going to be with us forever. And who will be the next Sondheim? I truly don’t know.