In contrast to his chatty librettist, Sondheim has been fairly close-mouthed about the work that has gone into Bounce, which had its world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in June and is expected to play the Kennedy Center Oct. 21-Nov. 26. However, he spoke briefly about the show in a public talkback at the Ravinia Festival, where his musical Passion was performed in concert.
The composer said he was writing "one and a half new songs" and that Weidman was "taking two sequences and compressing them for dramatic purposes." Other revisions will concern the first scenes of the show, where the story's premise and characters are introduced.
"I have a feeling," Sondheim said, "that we are not making clear to the audience what the show is about."
Sondheim added that Bounce remained basically the same show at the end of the Goodman run that it was at the start of previews. He also mentioned that his next musical may be a stage adaptation of the movie "Groundhog Day." The Bill Murray-Harold Ramis flick has long been reported as a project in the Sondheim hopper.
* A Broadway berth for Bounce, following the Washington engagement, remains a distinct possibility. Roger Berlind and Arielle Tepper are the attached commercial producers.
Notices for the brand new work—which is several years in the making—were mixed. Some critics thought the piece needed further definition, while others charges the creators should give the whimsical piece a more serious presentation and the lead characters of Addison and Wilson Mizner a more pointedly symbolic resonance. Good marks were posted for the performers Richard Kind and Michele Pawk and several reviewers found much to admire in the Sondheim score. Observers expect Sondheim, Weidman and Prince to return to the drawing board and present a revised show for Washington audiences.
Bounce is inspired by the lives of the colorful American capitalists-cum-con artists, the Mizner brothers. John Weidman (Sondheim and Prince's collaborator on Pacific Overtures) wrote the libretto of the musical, which has been in earnest development for several years under different producers and in different versions and with different titles.