Stephen Sondheim's professional debut in the 1950s was to have been a show called Saturday Night, which also featured a book by Julius and Philip Epstein. The untimely death of that show's producer killed the project, which had never been completed -- until now.
The Bridewell Theatre, a fringe venue in London, has announced that it will stage the musical, beginning Dec. 10 and opening Dec. 17. The seven-week run ends Jan. 24, 1998.
Carol Metcalfe, artistic director of The Bridewell, will co-direct Saturday Night with Clive Paget. Bridget Kimak will design the show.
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. The Bridewell confirmed Aug. 15 to Playbill On-Line that the production is scheduled, and gave the above-listed dates.
Sondheim has been quoted saying he would not allow the show to be performed. Sondheim's agent, Flora Roberts, had not returned Playbill On-Line's calls as of press time. According to Sean Patrick Flahaven, associate editor of The Sondheim Review magazine, Sondheim announced his change of heart at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music tribute concerts in March. He apparently was pleased with a concert version of the piece done at the Stephen Sondheim Society study day.
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."
Tickets are now on sale at the Bridewell Theatre: 0171 353 0259.
Fans of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd will no doubt appreciate that the Bridewell Theatre is situated on Bride Lane -- in Fleet Street.