Sondheim on Sondheim Ends Limited Run; Cast Album Will Get Aug. 31 Release

News   Sondheim on Sondheim Ends Limited Run; Cast Album Will Get Aug. 31 Release Roundabout Theatre Company's limited engagement of Sondheim on Sondheim, the unique biographical musical revue of the life and work of Broadway composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, ends June 27 at Studio 54.

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James Lapine conceived and directed the Broadway show, which incorporates exclusive video of Sondheim talking about his life and his work in musical theatre.

The new musical stars Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton, Erin Mackey & Matthew Scott. Kyle Harris and N'Kenge are understudies. Music and lyrics are by Sondheim.

By close, Sondheim on Sondheim will have played 38 preview performances and 74 regular performances. Previews began on March 19 toward an opening of April 22. The run was extended two weeks. Barbara Cook was Tony-nominated as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. A second 2010 Tony nomination went to Dan Moses Schreier for Best Sound Design of a Musical.

Sondheim wrote songs for the musicals Into the Woods, Company, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, West Side Story and Gypsy (among others).

Lapine and Sondheim collaborated on three Broadway musicals: Sunday in the Park With George (for which they share the Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Into the Woods and Passion. Sondheim on Sondheim weaves new video interviews of Sondheim with performances of his songs — well-known tunes, fan favorites and obscure numbers. Audio versions of some of those interviews will be heard on the album.

"Through the use of exclusive interview footage, audiences get an inside look at Sondheim's personal life and artistic process," according to Roundabout notes. "A cast of Broadway's best, perform brand-new arrangements of over two dozen Sondheim tunes, ranging from the beloved to the obscure."

The show's creative team includes David Loud (music direction and arrangements), Michael Starobin (orchestrations) and Dan Knechtges (musical staging).

The score included "Franklin Shepard, Inc," "Beautiful," "Being Alive," "Opening Doors," "Take Me to the World," "Loving You," "Happiness," "Losing My Mind," "Something Just Broke," "Send in the Clowns" and more.

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PS Classics, the record label known for its devotion to Broadway music and American pop, announced an Aug. 31 street date for its two-CD original cast recording of the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim.

Preorders for the album are already being accepted at amazon.com and at psclassics.com.

Album producer and PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill.com on June 23 that as a courtesy to the label's online customers, "many of whom have been buying directly from us for ten years now and really helped us stay afloat in those early years," PS Classics will be shipping three weeks ahead of street date to customers who purchase the discs directly from the label's website.

Although Amazon is already reporting a track listing, Krasker cautions that it's a "mock" track listing. "One of the more bizarre aspects of retail is that in order to set up a title, we have to provide a track listing three months prior to street date. But of course, on most cast albums — particularly expansive ones like Sondheim on Sondheim — the final track listing isn't solidified until the final stages of post-production. So we set up the title with a 'mock' track listing, which inevitably gets refined. Those who know us know we continue to refine and polish albums until the minute they ship to plant. As I recall, Joe Mantello and John Weidman and I decided to delete about five lines of dialogue from the Assassins recording even after the booklet had shipped to plant — so we had to pull the thing out of production!"

He added, "What I will say, at this time, is that the recording will include not just the superb performances from the show…but a good chunk of Sondheim's commentary. Finding the right balance between the two is the challenge in the weeks of post-production ahead, and that balance that will ultimately determine the final track listing. Sondheim on Sondheim is a unique experience on stage, and I think it's going to make a very special recording. Although the listener won't have the fun of 'seeing' Steve, of course, I think that even as an audio-only experience, it's going to be both entertaining and illuminating."

The company of Sondheim on Sondheim, the unique Broadway musical that is part video biography and part revue, was in a Manhattan recording studio June 6-7.

Krasker has 12 Sondheim cast albums to his credit, including the current Broadway production of A Little Night Music, and Roundabout Theatre Company's productions of Assassins and Pacific Overtures. PS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin, Sean Patrick Flahaven, and Alan D. Marks and Stephen Moore, of The Marks-Moore Group, serve as executive producers of the Sondheim on Sondheim album.

PS Classics, devoted to the heritage of Broadway and the American popular song, has preserved many Sondheim productions on disc including Company, The Frogs, Road Show and Sunday in the Park With George. Its recordings drawn from rare sound archives include "Sondheim Sings."

Visit www.psclassics.com or www.roundabouttheatre.org.

Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Matthew Scott, Erin Mackey, Barbara Cook, Euan Morton, Norm Lewis and Leslie Kritzer
Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Matthew Scott, Erin Mackey, Barbara Cook, Euan Morton, Norm Lewis and Leslie Kritzer
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