"Now You Know": Sondheim on Sondheim, the Two-Disc Album, Gets Aug. 31 Release

By Kenneth Jones
31 Aug 2010

The album cover of Sondheim on Sondheim.
The album cover of Sondheim on Sondheim.

PS Classics officially releases the two-disc Broadway cast album of Sondheim on Sondheim on Aug. 31. The biographical musical revue that featured video clips of the composer-lyricist sharing stories of his career, craft and life is preserved on a recording that mixes spoken audio tracks by Sondheim, plus his songs.

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Sondheim on Sondheim ended its limited run at Studio 54 on June 27.

The company of Sondheim on Sondheim was in a Manhattan recording studio June 6-7. The musical starred the Broadway legend Barbara Cook, a 2010 Tony Award nominee for her work, plus Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton, Erin Mackey and Matthew Scott.

Sound clips are available at the label's website, www.psclassics.com. Orders placed early through the PS Classics website were shipped three weeks ahead of street date.



Some songs that did not make the Broadway show — conceived and directed by James Lapine — were added back to the experience on disc, PS Classics co-founder and album producer Tommy Krasker previously told Playbill.com.

Krasker told Playbill.com, "Typically, when I finish the first assembly of one of Steve's recordings, we trim from there, and things get a little leaner. But when James Lapine heard Sondheim on Sondheim [the album] assembled, he felt — and rightly so — that we could actually add three more tracks of Steve's narration. And so we did. We always knew the album couldn't exactly duplicate the stage production, as the show stemmed from a visual premise, and some of it simply didn't make sense without the visuals. But I think it's two very rich discs, and that they complement the production well. I'm pleased we were able to preserve so much of Steve's spoken commentary, and particularly glad that we're preserving several items that didn't make the final cut onstage, including 'When I Get Famous' and 'Talent.'"

The CD package includes a 48-page booklet with complete lyrics, a new essay and color production photographs.

The track listing is:

Disc 1

1. "My name is Stephen Joshua Sondheim…"
2. INVOCATION/FORGET WAR
3. LOVE IS IN THE AIR
4. COMEDY TONIGHT
5. TAKE ME TO THE WORLD
6. "Ten years after I was born…"
7. TALENT/WHEN I GET FAMOUS
8. SOMETHING'S COMING
9. "My first professional show…"
10. SO MANY PEOPLE
11. "For many years, Hal Prince…"
12. YOU COULD DRIVE A PERSON CRAZY
13. THE WEDDING IS OFF
14. NOW YOU KNOW
15. "Hal Prince and I did six shows together…"
16. FRANKLIN SHEPARD, INC.
17. GOOD THING GOING
18. "Sometimes a song changes its shape…"
19. WAITING FOR THE GIRLS UPSTAIRS
20. THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAS HAPPENED
21. "My first serious relationship…"
22. HAPPINESS
23. FOSCA'S ENTRANCE (I READ)
24. IS THIS WHAT YOU CALL LOVE?
25. LOVING YOU

Disc 2

1. GOD
2. "If you ask me to write a love song…"
3. LOSING MY MIND/NOT A DAY GOES BY
4. "A lot of people think…"
5. OPENING DOORS
6. "We had three endings to Company…"
7. MULTITUDES OF AMYS
8. HAPPILY EVERY AFTER
9. BEING ALIVE
10. SOMETHING JUST BROKE
11. THE GUN SONG
12. "Jule Styne and I realized with Gypsy…"
13. SMILE, GIRLS
14. "I suppose if there is one that’s closest…"
15. FINISHING THE HAT
16. BEAUTIFUL
17. "I had a lot of trouble with my mother…"
18. CHILDREN WILL LISTEN
19. "To me, teaching is a sacred profession…"
20. SEND IN THE CLOWNS
21. "I've often been asked why I don't write…"
22. COMPANY/OLD FRIENDS
23. ANYONE CAN WHISTLE
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Sondheim on Sondheim, featuring more than 50 years of music and lyrics by the Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, began performances at Studio 54 on March 19, 2010, and opened officially on April 22.

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 wove new video interviews of Sondheim with live performances of his songs — well-known tunes, fan favorites and obscure numbers.

"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).

Sondheim on Sondheim was nominated for two Tony Awards including Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Barbara Cook) and Best Sound Design of a Musical (Dan Moses Schreier). The show also received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue, four Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Barbara Cook), Outstanding Set Design (Beowulf Boritt) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Ken Billington), one Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical and two Drama League nominations for Distinguished Performance (Barbara Cook & Vanessa Williams).

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."

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