James Lapine's original staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical was preserved on a commercially released video starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters after an initial broadcast on PBS' "Great Performances" series. Also featured in the company were Barbara Bryne as the Old Lady, Brent Spiner as Franz, Charles Kimbrough as Jules and Dana Ivey as Yvonne. The filming was directed by Terry Hughes who, it was noted, is best known for having directed over 100 episodes of "The Golden Girls."
The evening's special guest was Judith Moore, who originated the role of Nurse/Harriet Pawling. She has also been seen on Broadway in Into the Woods and Beauty and the Beast, with other theatrical credits including Marge in Promises, Promises! and Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Prior to the screening, Moore engaged in an interview and Q & A session moderated by event coordinator Phil Bond. She shared some personal anecdotes and revisited her experiences in the creation of Sondheim's iconic work. As the film began to roll, a roomful of fans gave her a hearty entrance applause when her character first appeared on the big screen.
The Screening Sondheim series will continue May 3 with the Angela Lansbury/George Hearn Sweeney Todd. A special guest has yet to be announced. There is no cover charge for the event, but there is a two-drink or $15 food/beverage minimum. The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located within The West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street. For reservations call (212) 695-6909.
Photos by Matthew Blank