take me to the world: a sondheim 90th celebration. The gay composer-lyricist is "greatness personified," says Raúl Esparza, who will host the show. PW: I was piecing together all the different elements in my house in the Catskills, which has turned into my livestream office. Because we don’t have much yet.”. “Lesson #8” is from the second act, and it comes after 20th-century George’s grandmother dies. Bernadette [Peters] gave me a call and said, “I think it’s ‘No One Is Alone,’ don’t you?” Mandy was one of the last to come aboard, because my email to him disappeared, and as soon as he said yes, the next email from him was “Lesson #8.”. R… “It Takes Two” is ostensibly about a husband and wife team trying to collect four magical items in three days’ time so they can feed a cow to heal a witch to get a baby, and — look, it’s complicated. —AR. To quote the man himself, art isn’t easy. —CG. Pour yourself a glass of something, settle in, and prepare to feel some very cathartic feelings. But the song is really about the wonderful surprise of falling in love all over again with someone you thought you knew. We don’t know where the mysterious monoliths come from. But live was no longer an option, because what the fuck? Her tremulous warble and the dark edge she gives to wryly simplistic lines — like “loving you is not a choice and not much reason to rejoice” — embody both her mesmerizing talent as an actress and Sondheim’s genius at manifesting characters through their songs. Raúl Esparza: I had the idea right around the time that Broadway closed down, and it was clear that we were not going to celebrate Steve at the opening of Company [on his 90th birthday]. RE: Friends are texting me — Lin, Donna, like, “Honey, your mic isn’t on!” Once we realized it, I just froze. There's power in understanding. If Donna Murphy’s gonna sing “Send in the Clowns,” you want it to look correct. My first idea was: What if we did a series of viral videos? Streep, LuPone Among Stars Slated for Sondheim's Birthday Concert . Share This: ... wished Sondheim a happy birthday at the end. I love that you look so wild and overgrown. And in the final moments of his performance, he added a lovely and tender grace note when he picked up the hat he wore to play the Baker on Broadway. —Constance Grady. Mary-Mitchell Campbell will create a piano track for you, and you can sing to it, and we’ll edit it together.”, RE: The very first person to get back was Patti [LuPone], and she said, “Yes — ‘Anyone Can Whistle.’” The next one was Michael Cerveris, and he said, “I’m thinking ‘Finishing the Hat,’ unless somebody’s taken it.” Almost nobody doubled up, because people weren’t doing the major songs — nobody was saying “Being Alive,” and nobody went to Gypsy and West Side Story. Passion is perhaps Sondheim’s most challenging show within a long career of challenging shows. PW: Once it was running and people were watching it, I reached out to Raúl and Mary-Mitchell, and we decided that they would record videos of what they were going to say live and send me the file. It’s a great moment that reminds us of the reason for Into the Wood’s relative commercial success: It’s vibrant, singable fun. RE: To be safe, Paul decided to wait until it was totally uploaded, which was the first delay for ten minutes. The concert… Paul suggested getting somebody from every show, and so it just grew and grew. I basically slid to the floor and ended up in the fetal position by the refrigerator, swaying back and forth. That’s what a group of actors and musicians and musical-theater fans managed to do on Sunday night with a charity concert for Artists Striving to End Poverty, through Broadway.com. MMC: We met up on Zoom after it was over, and we were like, Okay, I think my blood pressure’s coming down again. Cerveris has played George before, in an Illinois revival in 2004, but his best-known Sondheim collaborations are his work as John Wilkes Booth in Assassins on Broadway in 2004 and as Sweeney Todd in the 2005 Broadway revival. ... 2020… Sondheim wrote the song specifically for Glynis Johns, who portrayed Desiree in A Little Night Music on Broadway. It reminded me of live theater, which was sort of exciting, of something like the set breaking. “No One Is Alone” is Bernadette Peters’s traditional concert closer, and it’s only fitting that it brings this virtual Sondheim concert to an end, too. Help keep Vox free for all by making a contribution today. RE: We asked our editor to explain how the best sound could happen, which involved GarageBand, pillows, and the smallest room in your house, and we sent it out to everyone, and they all went, “What? It’s an enormously warm and vulnerable performance, and right now, it’s incredibly cathartic to watch. Just last night, the stars came out to celebrate Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday with 'Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration'. —CG. hat trick May 1, 2020 How the Remote Sondheim 90th-Birthday Concert Came Together (an Hour or So Late) By Jackson McHenry @McHenryJD Raúl Esparza, at full volume. Of the multiple Evening Primrose performances, Benanti’s haunting, melancholic performance of “I Remember Sky”— sung flawlessly while leaning against her bathtub, no less — made us yearn for the lost art of going outside. But Into the Woods featured heavily in his 90th birthday concert, and the songs themselves made the case for why. PW: Luckily, since I had broken up the show into pieces, so by the time I got to the spot where Mary-Mitchell was going to speak, I could play it — without even looking at it [beforehand], by the way. “Loving You” sounds like a simple love song, until you look more closely and realize the singer is grimly vowing to stalk the object of their affection until they die. By the time you get to the line, “Loving you is not in my control,” you realize that “love” in this framing is dangerous and sober. Assassins is perhaps Sondheim’s best and most upsetting musical — a devastating postmodern critique on the hollowness of the American dream, explored through the lives of the oft-marginalized men and women who have tried or succeeded at killing US presidents. “Johanna” is from Sondheim’s creepy, pulpy, pitch-black tragicomedy Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. RE: Who do you think has the best Rolodex of all of us? I called Mary-Mitchell first, and I said, “What if it’s a benefit for ASTEP, because I always associate Steve with teaching and with children?”. Sunday’s virtual Sondheim concert was the most cathartic experience of quarantine so far, The $124 billion Supreme Court case that could throw the housing market into turmoil, explained. Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was honored on Sunday with a starry online 90th birthday concert stuffed with his songs but delayed by technical difficulties. It’s a mini-version of Pacific Overtures itself: a very postmodern, meta-textual study of time and culture and the way that history gains meaning through incremental individual moments. Salonga sells it with quiet determination, and it’s enthralling. “Someone in a Tree” is also a beautiful look at the experimental range of much of Sondheim’s work. ", Everything that needs to go right for Democrats to win the Georgia runoffs, explained. Neil Young Drops Lawsuit Against His Biggest Fan. Assassins remains a very necessary show, and the scathing “Flag Song,” the show’s original opening number, shows us why. RE: Steve actually said to me afterward that, when he was watching the start, he thought, I wouldn’t want to be Raúl up there for all the money in the world right now. Stephen Sondheim gets starry but tardy 90th birthday concert Arts Apr 27, 2020 12:35 PM EDT NEW YORK (AP) — Josh Groban, Nathan Lane and Jake Gyllenhaal … MMC: The idea of doing “I’m Still Here” — I thought it would be really beautiful if we saw a lot of people from the community and their resilience, [saying] that we are not gone even though we are not together. And while both shows were challenging and controversial, each went on to become cult favorites and are now widely considered to be among Sondheim’s best musicals. Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Stephen Sondheim Gets Starry but Tardy 90th Birthday Concert Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jake Gyllenhaal and other stars paid tribute to the … I remember Raúl and I both fanboyed out about that song [“The Boy From …”]. Audra had sent in ten or 12. Now this is a birthday card! Let’s get some up-tempos. Lenk’s performance, particularly in her vocals and inflections (she also plays the guitar! We’re still tallying things, but last count, we were over $350,000 in donations [according to a rep, the effort is now “closer to $400,000”]. Few people outside of Sondheim obsessives know about Evening Primrose, the 1966 television musical Sondheim wrote starring his bestie Anthony Perkins as a poet who becomes trapped in a department store overnight and discovers a commune of people hiding from the world there. RE: The act starting with Nathan Lane was the last big chunk of digital information that had to travel. MMC: Things like “Send in the Clowns” are very hard, because there’s no tempo that’s particularly constant and no way to do a click track. But once the tech nightmare was semi-resolved, the show’s performances — including a jaw-dropping trio of Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, and Audra McDonald singing “The Ladies Who Lunch” — were enough to win audiences over and break hearts in that typically Sondheim joy-with-melancholy sort of way. MMC: I’d never seen a virtual mob before. Of course there isn’t. RE: “Someone in a Tree” is one of my favorite songs, and I know it’s one of Steve’s. Just don’t let it go. ), divorced the song from its original context, removing the horror and generally unnerving tone. I still can’t tell you what happened. “Someone in a Tree” is a short master class in how satisfying such an unsatisfying form can be. Broadway stars will pay a 90th birthday tribute to legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim on the free virtual concert "Take Me To The World," set to air live on April 26. —CG. Ladies who lunched: Streep, Baranski, and McDonald. Of course, I never could have imagined what it turned into. Sondheim is our great bard of loneliness and alienation, and his birthday concert, officially titled “Take Me to the World,” makes a strong argument that he’s the de facto poet laureate of this social distancing moment. The musical itself features murder, cannibalism, and a very horny, rape-y judge. © 2020 Vox Media, LLC. Mary-Mitchell Campbell: I was on board instantaneously. “Lesson #8” from Sunday in the Park with George — Mandy Patinkin. By the time I went to bed Sunday, everyone loved the show. here’s the full vid of katrina lenk singing johanna pic.twitter.com/mY9HaKO2Gm. Police say the shooting was "justified. Hygge, a culture of coziness that has taken over the self-care space, is Scandinavia’s specialty. !” Some performers were really adept. A financial contribution to Vox will help us continue providing free explanatory journalism to the millions who are relying on us. In honor of Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday, stars are coming together for Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday … —CG. Hard to see the light now. My initial reaction was that I knew Raúl had a great relationship with Sondheim, so I knew that it would immediately have a classy sheen on it and that we’d be able to get great people. A man is known by the company he keeps, and what stellar company Stephen Sondheim will be keeping at “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.”. You\'ll receive the next newsletter in your inbox. After a pause to regroup, the whole thing finally restarted and rolled out, sans live sections, more than an hour late. The party was periodically plagued by technical glitches — it started more than an hour late, after a long period in which no sound was audible — but in the end, it didn’t matter. Sondheim is the great bard of loneliness. It went to Michael Cerveris instead. Join us for a rousing celebration of the life and work of one of Broadway's greatest legends - the one and only Stephen Sondheim. A Scandinavian local explains how to make it through winter. But he’s also able to make his presence chilly and isolated in a way that’s perfect for Sondheim’s lonely, withholding heroes. A delicious episode serves up a tasting menu of all the different types of drama this crew has to offer. Sondheim’s birthday was actually March 22, but Sunday night was a good time to celebrate nonetheless: April 26 also marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Company, one of Sondheim’s most beloved shows. All rights reserved. I remember the Monday morning before, calling Raúl, and being like, “Are we really going to do this for Sunday? “It Takes Two” is so exuberant that you barely even have to sing it to sell it, but Feldstein and Platt sing the heck out of it and look like they’re having a blast. Raúl Esparza is hosting a virtual celebration for Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday, "Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.” “No More” comes during Into the Woods’s darker, heavier second half, as the fairy-tale frolic of the first act is starting to fall apart. I have nowhere near the computer I should have to be exporting these, like, 40-gigabyte files. The police shooting of Casey Goodson Jr., killed in Columbus, Ohio, explained, Goodson’s family say he was holding a sandwich when police shot him. When he was writing the libretto for Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda consulted Weidman specifically to gain insight into how to write such unreliable yet relatable narration into his own work. I also had the idea to do the Merrily overture inspired by the “Boléro” from the NY Phil. *Sorry, there was a problem signing you up. Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was honored on Sunday with a starry online 90th birthday concert stuffed with his songs but delayed by technical difficulties. ], MMC: We were going to do a piano version for Bernadette, and we talked to her about it, and then she ended up doing an a cappella version and we were like, “We don’t want to touch that.”, RE: It took me eight hours [to film my take]. Mark Kennedy 4/27/2020. Through the disjointed perspectives and fading recollections of a few unrelated bystanders to the event, the song explores the fragmentation of memory, showing us that the power of an event is often much more about the feeling and the spirit of the moment rather than the actual things taking place. PW: The original plan was that there would be four live sections — three with Raúl and one with Mary-Mitchell Campbell talking about ASTEP. I had three different editors working, and I edited some things myself, and then there were a couple of others that took individual pieces. Stephen Sondheim. MMC: Priyanka [Patil] and I had planned to go live in our kitchen, and we made a video really quick. We did a test run of Raúl speaking so that we could hear his audio — that went great, and I streamed it to a private page on YouTube. Here, gazing out of a window and staunchly refusing to make eye contact with the camera, Cerveris finds the aching loneliness that hides below George’s cold exterior. MMC: We got really ambitious [with the group numbers]. RE: We compiled a list of ten or 11 Sondheim performers to reach out to — the ones that we idolize, the ones we think of as the classics. Broadway stars will pay a 90th birthday tribute to legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim on the free virtual concert “Take Me To The World,” set to air live on April 26. Sign up for the PW: There were like four or five weeks of phone calls with me, Raúl, and Mary-Mitchell where we just kept adding people. Thom Sesma said, “What if we did it?” I wanted to do this Brady Bunch idea, because it’s on Zoom, and we thought we should storyboard the idea with where to look to clarify the story points. You do it now!” Then we decided: Okay, cut the first monologue, upload the pretaped material. Legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim will be toasted with an all-star birthday concert, streaming live on Sunday, April 26 at 8PM ET. ... 2020, 12:21 AM. Paul Wontorek: I think it was right after I had directed the Rosie O’Donnell livestream. Christine said yes a few minutes later. But if you don’t have a spare two and a half hours to spend today, we’ve assembled 12 highlights for you. 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