London's First Night Records will record the original Bridewell Theatre cast of the "lost" 1954 Stephen Sondheim musical, Saturday Night, which had its long-delayed premiere Dec. 17, 1997 at the fringe theatre in London.
First Night's Chris Rayner told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 12) that the CD will be released in the U.K. sometime in April, with a firm release date to be decided in early March. Release dates in North America and elsewhere are yet to be decided.
Sondheim wrote what was to have been his professional debut when he was 24, to a book by Julius and Philip Epstein. The untimely death of that show's producer killed the project, which had never been completed -- until 1997.
A surprising number of songs from Saturday Night have surfaced on Sondheim compilation recordings. Songs include "What More Do I Need," "Isn't It?" and the title song, all of which can be heard on the "A Stephen Sondheim Evening" recording. "Love's a Bond," "All for You," and "In the Movies" can be heard on the "Unsung Sondheim" CD. "So Many People" can be heard on the 1973 "Sondheim" compilation and in the cast album for the Off-Broadway show Marry Me a Little, which also includes "A Moment With You."
Carol Metcalfe, artistic director of The Bridewell, co-directed Saturday Night with Clive Paget. According to the Sondheim website and the Albemarle Of London's West End Theatre Guide website, a concert version of the musical was presented at the Bridewell in September 1995 as part of a 'study day' held by the UK's 'The Stephen Sondheim Society' with Sondheim in attendance.
Sondheim had been quoted saying he would not allow the show to be performed. But Sean Patrick Flahaven, associate editor of The Sondheim Review magazine, said Sondheim announced his change of heart at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music tribute concerts in March 1997. He apparently was pleased with a concert version of the piece done at the Stephen Sondheim Society study day.