Webway Wednesday . . . Send in Sondheim

Inside Track   Webway Wednesday . . . Send in Sondheim
The theatre world has gone into a bit of diabetic shock with the news that Sondheim will be all over the Boards this season.  First, this winter will be the long-awaited revival of A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury (because 5 Tonys just wasn’t enough!).  Then, it was announced that Sondheim on Sondheim would be premiering at Studio 54 this spring and that the legendary Barbara Cook and Tony nominated Sondheim alum, Vanessa Williams would be two of the big, booming voices singing the celebrated songs. 

For most of us who love theatre and pray to the altar of Sondheim (and most of us do), this one-two punch from one of the most prolific composers in all of musical theatre is like Christmas come early!

One of the most famous songs to come out of Night Music is of course, "Send in the Clowns".  Most of us know that the song was a last-minute addition written for Glynis Johns.  The rest of the story was filled in for me by our resident chatterbox, Seth Rudetsky.  It turned out that the song was actually supposed to be for Len Cariou.  Really wanting to inspire Sondheim, he and Glynis did a little presentation for Sondheim improvising the scene that led into the to-be-written song.  The next day, the song was written…for Glynis.  The song went on to be a huge hit sung by the likes of Streisand, Sinatra, Judy Collins and Shirley Bassey.

With Night Music coming back to Broadway next month, this week's Webway is dedicated to the classic tuner.

This version sung by Glenn Close was for a 1993 tribute to Sondheim at Carnegie Hall.  You'll remember that Close and Len Cariou were an item in the early 80's.  

Probably one of the most famous interpretations of the song is by Barbra Streisand.  This is from the famous "One Voice" recording which was filmed in her backyard as a benefit and led to the creation of her beloved Streisand Foundation.

One of my favorite adaptations of the song is by jazz legend Sarah Vaughan.  Divine indeed.

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