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Stephen Sondheim 1930-2021


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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I find performing a song a wholly different experience from listening to it. When you perform it, you discover all the nuances that are part of the individual art. Sondheim was a gifted composer who traveled far outside the realm of the simple 2/4 verse/chorus/verse/chorus trope.

 

One of the unwritten rules for auditions, workshops, open mics, etc. is not to bring a Sondheim song for a pianist you don't know. Some of us learn this the hard way, after the fact! Now "Broadway Baby" is not difficult for the accompanist, and the haunting "I Remember" from Evening Primrose is simple, and many pianists love it, but "The Road You Didn't Take" and many another Sondheim song . . . well, that's another matter.

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So sad to learn of his passing.  I've never been a musical enthusiast, but I definitely appreciate the work of Sondheim.

Question for those who are more informed:  is there anyone out there today who is writing and composing at the level of Sondheim?  Seems like most of what plays on Broadway are jukebox musicals aimed at tourists.

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13 minutes ago, PhillyCinephile said:

So sad to learn of his passing.  I've never been a musical enthusiast, but I definitely appreciate the work of Sondheim.

Question for those who are more informed:  is there anyone out there today who is writing and composing at the level of Sondheim?  Seems like most of what plays on Broadway are jukebox musicals aimed at tourists.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Guettel (Richard Rodgers' grandson and Mary Rodgers' son), Pasek & Paul.

But you're right that the commercial theatre in NYC is dominated by jukebox musicals and very long running shows (Chicago, Phantom, etc.) - largely due to the expense of mounting new productions.

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9 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

 

Stop worrying if your vision is new

Let others make that decision; they usually do.

I always loved those lines from "Move On."

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2 hours ago, PhillyCinephile said:

So sad to learn of his passing.  I've never been a musical enthusiast, but I definitely appreciate the work of Sondheim.

Question for those who are more informed:  is there anyone out there today who is writing and composing at the level of Sondheim?  Seems like most of what plays on Broadway are jukebox musicals aimed at tourists.

David Yazbek, whose best-known musical is The Band's Visit. An incredible score. Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years is another score you might like to sample.

'

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22 hours ago, Swithin said:

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music for one of my favorite films: Warren Beatty's Reds (1981). Although much of the film's music consisted of old standards from the early 20th Century, Sondheim's original musical contributions are lovely:

Sondheim's contribution to Beatty's 1990 film "Dick Tracy" --  "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" -- earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was performed in the film (and at the 63rd Oscars ceremony) by Madonna.

Sondheim also earned nine Tonys and eight Grammys, but ended up an Emmy shy of EGOT status.

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2 hours ago, BagelOnAPlateOfOnionRolls said:

If forced to chose a favorite Sondheim musical I would probably pick Follies.

Speaking of FOLLIES, check out this amazing in concert performance of "Buddy's Blues" from Mandy Patinkin:

 

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10 hours ago, sagebrush said:

Speaking of FOLLIES, check out this amazing in concert performance of "Buddy's Blues" from Mandy Patinkin:

 

THis is such a great performance--thanks for posting! This song is one of the most brilliant songs ever because it is the only song I have ever heard that expresses this emotion that we have all experienced. Who would even think to write a song about this? That is the essence of Sondheim -- all that in-between of life most songwriters ignore.

Being in a theater family I grew up on Sondheim. As a child we watched the Sondheim Celebration at Carnegie Hall over and over -- especially loved Madeleine Kahn singing "Getting Married Today". I love this song so much anyway and this is my favorite ever version of this.

 

I love so much Sondheim I could be here all day listing favorites and genius songs. But a recent favorite is this performance of "Someone in a Tree" from the prviously mentioned 90th Birthday Tribute concert we got during lockdown, which we call the Covid Sondheim Concert . This concert was really good therapy for me at a rough time for us all, and this particular number made me so happy.

 

Sondheim was the Last Great Broadway Genius -- I can't believe he's really gone. Thanks for all the music, Stephen!

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9 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Is that what Mo Rocca, formerly of The Daily Show, doing these days? Hadn't heard anything about him in 20  years. Nice to know he's still around!

He also does a noteworthy podcast called "Mobituaries" about the lives of fascinating people. And he's an occasional panelist on NPR's long-running quiz show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"

See the source image

www.mobituaries.com

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I'd just returned from Thanksgiving out of town, I turned the tv on to the news as soon as I came in the door and that was breaking news! What a shocker. I loved his shows and his music. It's like the end of an era. :(

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On 11/27/2021 at 12:18 AM, sewhite2000 said:

He was a titan of the industry and deserves to be mentioned, though my expertise in Broadway songwriting is quite limited, and I'm probably not the greatest authority on him or his work. I did recently read most of the new Mike Nichols biography by Mark Harris, and Sondheim is mentioned a number of times as a close acquaintance of Nichols. I forget now if Nichols ever directed any shows with Sondheim numbers on Broadway, but Shirley MacLaine sings Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" in Postcards from the Edge.

 

 

Not the whole song though.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:41 AM, Roy Cronin said:

I was fortunate enough to have seen the final performance of "Merrily We Roll Along", which was 40 years ago tomorrow. 

It opened to pretty negative reviews, and I agree that the production and story were flawed, but much of the music remains sublime.

I revisit the cast recording frequently,  particularly "Not a Day Goes By" and "Our Time."

 

Yes, I love the score.

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On 11/27/2021 at 4:28 AM, Princess of Tap said:

This is the song that made Alexis Smith a star in middle age on Broadway. She won a Tony for "Follies".

It's true Follies made Alexis Smith a star (finally) but it was Yvonne DeCarlo who sang "I'm Still Here" in the show.

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On 11/27/2021 at 10:40 AM, Roy Cronin said:

March 2005: Stephen Sondheim: Films Chosen: The Mind Reader (1933), The Clock (1945), Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Out of the Fog (1941), Night Must Fall (1937), Torchy Blaine in Chinatown (1938)

 

6 films? That's odd. I don't remember a guest programmer getting to pick that many. Of course, he'd pick Smiles of a Summer Night. A Little Night Music was based on it! :D

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2 hours ago, jakeem said:

He also does a noteworthy podcast called "Mobituaries" about the lives of fascinating people. And he's an occasional panelist on NPR's long-running quiz show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"

Sounds like he's kept busy, but he shifted of to a pocket of the infotainment universe where I entirely lost contact with him to the point where I didn't even know if he was still alive! He was always one of my favorites on The Daily Show. I think he began in the Craig Kilborn days, pre-Jon Stewart. He looks exactly the same, except his hair is entirely gray now.

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