Celebrate Sondheim's Birthday With a Video Review!

News   Celebrate Sondheim's Birthday With a Video Review!
 
Over the years, Playbill has collected a wide array of videos featuring Stephen Sondheim and his multitude of groundbreaking and beloved shows. Here's a sample from our archives — some you might have seen recently (Roundabout's Into the Woods) and some you might not have seen for a while (Merrily We Roll Along at Encores!).

Disney will release the film of Sondheim and James Lapine's "Into the Woods" on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on March 24. In anticipation of the release, here is an exclusive clip of Billy Magnussen and Chris Pine singing "Agony" in the film.

 

In 2010, Tony winners — and Sondheim disciples — Nathan Lane and Patti LuPone joined Sondheim himself to celebrate the lighting of the marquee of the newly re-christened Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

 

In 2012, Off-Broadway's Keen Company presented a "revisal" of Marry Me a Little, the 1981 conceptual revue of Sondheim songs that were cut from other productions including "Saturday Night" and "If You Can Find Me, I'm Here." The musical featured Jason Tam and Lauren Molina as neighbors aching for human connection on a lonely Saturday night and who, unbeknownst to each other, are only living a floor apart.

 

In this special extended peek at the documentry "Six By Sondheim" (courtesy of HBO), Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan and America Ferrera are featured in a brand new performance of Merrily We Roll Along's "Opening Doors" created especially for the film.

 

The HBO documentary "Six By Sondheim" takes a look at the life and art of Sondheim through six of his iconic songs. Directed by Tony winner Lapine, the film contains archival footage as well as new musical segments which he directed along with Todd Haynes and Autumn de Wilde. In this special peek at the film (courtesy of HBO), Sondheim discusses the challenges of writing new material, while Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, America Ferrera, Laura Osnes, Montego Glover, Nathan Lane and the film's executive producer Frank Rich discuss why Sondheim is an icon of the musical theatre. 

 

Conceived and performed by Fiasco Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company's reimagined production of Into the Woods features only 10 actors and stripped-down arrangements. Playbill was on hand for an exclusive performance of "It Takes Two" as the cast (who double as the show's musicians) gave a sample that illustrates exactly what theatregoers can expect from the show.

 

Three million YouTube subscribers and "mirfandas" can't be wrong — Miranda Sings is a huge talent. With very demonstrative facial expressions, a unique take on makeup and wardrobe and her almost unbelievable vocal stylings, she cuts an undeniable figure in the world of online music video. Here, she takes on the entirety of Into the Woods, fearlessly performing every role. Check out many more of her videos on YouTube.

 

In 2014, Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented Road Show, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by John Weidman. Based on the true story of the ambitious wheeling and dealing Mizner brothers (Michael Aaron Lindner playd Addison and Andrew Rothenberg played Wilson), the show follows the pair as they chase the American dream from the Alaskan gold rush to the Florida real estate boom of the 1930s. The cast featured Robert Lenzi, Anne Gunn and Larry Adams.

 

In 2013, Classic Stage Company presented a freshly conceived staging of Passion, the 1994 Tony-winning musical with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by Lapine. Based on the 19th-century Italian novel "Fosca" (and a subsequent film), Passion tells the story of army captain Giorgio (Ryan Silverman) separated from his beloved Clara (Melissa Errico) by the call of duty. When Giorgio meets Fosca (Judy Kuhn), the ill cousin of his commanding officer, he begins to grow fascinated by her, coming to realize no one has ever loved him as deeply. John Doyle directed the production, using an all-male cast except for Kuhn and Errico.

 

 

Elmo, Batman, Mickey Mouse and a whole host of unauthorized mascots crowd Times Square on a daily basis presenting themselves for photo ops with tourists. Laura Benanti had some time on her hands, so she joined them for the day. She didn't dress as Hello Kitty, Smurfette or other popular characters since she didn't want to steal anyone's thunder. Instead, she dressed as what is sure to be a new favorite for kids of all ages — the sickly Fosca from Passion.

 

Marin Mazzie spoke to Playbill about originating the role of Clara in the 1994 original Broadway production of Passion. Mazzie received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and the show captured four Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

 

The Encores! concert production of Sondheim and George Furth's short-lived but tuneful 1981 Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along played New York City Center Feb. 8-19, 2012. The cast was headed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Donnell and Celia Keenan-Bolger. Highlights include "That Frank," "The Blob," "Not a Day Goes By" and "It's a Hit!"

 

 

In 2012, Tony-winning composer and star of In The Heights Lin-Manuel Miranda kicked off the 14th season of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series with a rendition of Jay-Z’s "Empire State of Mind," sprinkled with some "Another Hundred People," from Sondheim’s Company. Miranda was joined onstage by former Heights co-star Mandy Gonzalez.

 

A newly-revised scene from Sondheim and Weidman's 1976 musical Pacific Overtures debuted as part of 2012's Shinsai: Theatres for Japan benefit. Sondheim and Weidman were among more than a dozen theatre writers who contributed material to the benefit staged by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher. In this rehearsal room peek, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma and the rest of the cast performed the new versions of "Four Black Dragons" and "Next."

 

The 2009 revival of A Little Night Music starred Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. The show was Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, Zeta-Jones was nominate for Best Leading Actress in a Musical and Lansbury was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical.

 

Directed by John Doyle (who directed both Company and Sweeney Todd on Broadway), 2013's A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair featured more than two-dozen Sondheim compositions with arrangements by Wynton Marsalis and performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Norm Lewis, Bernadette Peters, Jeremy Jordan and jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée performed the tunes, which are taken from an array of Sondheim works. Here, the four preview "Happily Ever After," a song cut from Company but later used in Marry Me a Little.

 

In 2014, The New York Philharmonic presented five concert performances of Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd. Emma Thompson made her New York stage debut as Mrs. Lovett and operatic bass-baritone Bryn Terfel performed the titular role of the murderous barber. Lonny Price directed the production, which included Christian Borle, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Erin Mackey.

 

Bryn Terfel, Christian Borle, and the cast of The New York Philharmonic's 2014 concert performances of Sweeney Todd talked about what it was like to have Sondheim himself sitting there in the second row as they performed the show.

 

Sondheim and British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber share a birthday. To mark the special day in 2015, Playbill.com delivers an exclusive mashup of the composers' music, performed by Wicked star Lindsay Mendez.

 

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