STEPHEN MADE THE WEEKEND
This was one of those weekends when being a New Yorker made you feel or made me feel like I was one of the luckiest people alive.
First off the weather was amazing…The city is in full Spring mode and you know there is more to do here than anywhere and it’s often times a block away or next door.
Sometimes I can stand on my terrace and just watch the ongoing parade on the street below and I feel like I’am a part of something so specieal.
We started out the weekend on Friday night by going to see Sondheim on Sondheim. If you live in NYC or follow musical theatre you know this is Stephen Sondheim’s eightith birthday year, and people have being singing up a storm to celebrate – as well they should.
He is without doubt my all time favorite, but saying you love Stephen Sondheim is like saying you like sunshine and homemade ice cream. Though there is often times a dark and realistic side to his music that does not feel sunny, it’s real, it’s life, yet it’s optimistic. He truly he is one of our great American treasures.
Sondheim on Sondheim is a three hours, yes it is and the time flies by. The show is devoted to him, his life and his music. Through constant video interviews projected in the most creative of ways it is MC’d by him and it’s sung by Barbara Cook, Tom Wopat,, Norm Lewish, Euan Morton, Vanessa Williams and Leslie Kritzer. While I guess in many people’s opinion Barbara Cook walks away with the show, she certainly gets the biggest applause, they are all amazing.
And I can’t remember when I’ve had a better night in the theatre. I would go back today, if I could.
This is a snippet of what Ben Brantley has to say…
“You have to have something to believe in,” they sing, “Something to appropriate, emulate, overrate. Might as well be Stephen, or to use his nickname: God!”
Thus does the composer of those lyrics address the question of his divinity in a little number called “God” at the top of the second act of “Sondheim on Sondheim,” a genial, multimedia commemorative scrapbook on the life, times and career of you-know-who. The song was inspired by the title of an article featured inside a 1994 New York magazine: “Is Stephen Sondheim God?” And the answer, for those of us for whom musicals are truly a religion, is — now as then — yes. Or to use the language of the common folk, “Well, duh.”
That pretty much sums up my feelings and certainly those of the audience the night we were there.
Sadly there is no soundtrack to go along with the show. Though they are his standards and what sets this show apart is the mulit-media usage of his image and the fact you feel like you are watching his career with him and through him and next to him and you sort of are.
It closes June 27th. I don’t often recommend Broadway shows as they have gotten so expensive and everyone’s taste is different but you would be really hard pressed not to walk away from this not feeling like you had really experienced something special.
Yesterday was gorgeous and Lucy really wanted to see BABIES a new doc on, well babies. I will take Lucy to see almost any movie, within reason and I will go see any doc. So as to not ruin the gorgeous day we went at five-thirty.
The theatre was packed.
As Blake used to say the movie is in the title and you grab them with the poster. And this one certainly proves his point. For some reason it is getting a lot of attention. It’s not too long that is a plus. It’s about eighty minutes of following four babies from birth until about 19 months. One is African, one Mongolian, one Japanese ( the cutest) and one in San Francisco.
Lucy loved it. The audience seemed to love it. There was laughter and the types ohhs and ays that are usually reserved for baby showers when tiny dresses are removed from boxes and get passed around.
I honestly didn’t get it. I kept checking my Blackberry, looking at my watch and wondering how this became a festival darling. Nothing happens. Especially if you have been through this with your own kids. If you don’t like kids I can’t imagine sitting though it and if you want kids and can’t have them this would only send you into the deepest of depressions. So I’m not sure who the audience is, except as I often am – I’m wrong – there seems to be one.
Lucy laughed up storm. The audeince was inraptured. I hummed Bring In The Clowns softly to myself.
Honestly it felt like an eighty minute HUGGIES commercial.
But it has a great poster. Blake would love the poster and say –
“I told you so”
But Sondheim on Sondheim is a hard act to follow.
Even by babies or perhaps especially by babies depending on your point of view.
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM at the Roundabout Theatre through June 27th.
If you can’t get there and you love Sondheim either one of these belong on every iPod or PAD!
Either the iTunes Essential Sondheim that was just released.
Or my all time Favorite SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM