Presentation on theme: "STEPHEN SONDHEIM Selected Lyrics from Company & Sweeney Todd."— Presentation transcript:
STEPHEN SONDHEIM Selected Lyrics from Company & Sweeney Todd
Sources Sondheim, Stephen. FINISHING THE HAT. Collected Lyrics (1954-1981). New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Sondheim, Stephen. LOOK, I MADE A HAT. Collected Lyrics (1981-2011). New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Sondheim.com
COMPANY Alvin Theatre (4/26/1970 - 1/1/1972) Total Previews: 7 Total Performances: 705 Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway Setting: New York City. Now. Produced by Harold Prince in association with Ruth Mitchell Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by George Furth Music orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick Directed by Harold Prince Musical Staging by Michael Bennett Associate Choreographer: Bob Avian Scenic Design by Boris Aronson Costume Design by D.D. Ryan Lighting Design by Robert Ornbo
Fundraising REUNION production Company (Concert staging of the show) January 23, 1993 at the Terrace Theatre Vivian Beaumont Theatre (4/11- 4/12/1993) Presented by Barry Brown Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and New York Magazine Produced in association with Lincoln Center Theater Directed by Barry Brown
Revival Cast CastBarbara Barrie Sarah Susan Browning April George Coe David John Cunningham Peter Steve Elmore Paul Stanley Grover Larry (replaced Charles Braswell) Beth Howland Amy Dean Jones Robert Charles Kimbrough Harry Merle Louise Susan Patti LuPone Host (not an original cast member) Donna McKechnie Kathy Pamela Myers Marta Teri Ralston Jenny Elaine Stritch Joanne
1995 Revival Roundabout Theatre Company (Limited run) Criterion Center Stage Right (10/5/1995 - 12/3/1995) Total Previews: 43 Total Performances: 60 Directed by Scott Ellis Musical Staging by Rob Marshall Scenic Design by Tony Walton Costume Design by William Ivey Long Lighting Design by Peter Kaczorowski
1995 Revival Cast Danny Burstein Paul Kate Burton Sarah Diana Canova Jenny Veanne Cox Amy Charlotte d'Amboise Kathy Jonathan Dokuchitz Peter Boyd Gaines Robert John Hillner David Jane Krakowski April LaChanze Marta Timothy Landfield Larry Debra Monk Joanne Patricia Ben Peterson Susan Robert Westenberg Harry
1996 London Revival At Donmar Warehouse, under the direction of Sam Mendes
2008 Broadway Ethel Barrymore Theatre, (11/29/2006 - 7/1/2007) Total Previews: 34 Total Performances: 246 Directed by John Doyle
Raúl EsparzaPercussion Robert Keith ButerbaughTrumpet, Trombone Harry Matt CastlePiano/Keyboards, Double Bass Peter Robert CunninghamTrumpet, Drums Paul Angel DesaiKeyboard, Violin, Alto Sax Marta Kelly Jeanne GrantFlute, Alto Sax Kathy Kristin HuffmanFlute, Alto Sax, Piccolo Sarah Amy JustmanPiano/Keyboards, Orchestra Bells Susan Heather LawsFrench Horn, Trumpet, Flute Amy Leenya RideoutViolin, Guitar, Double Bass Jenny Fred RoseCello, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax David Bruce SabathClarinet, Drums Larry Elizabeth StanleyOboe, Tuba, Alto Sax April Barbara WalshOrchestra Bells, Percussion Joanne
In Sondheim’s words THE “NOTION” A man with no emotional commitments reassesses his life on his 35 th birthday by reviewing the relationships with his married acquaintances and his girlfriends. That is the entire plot. It derives from a series of eleven brief one-act plays by George Furth (an actor). Most of them concerned two people in a relationship joined by an outsider.
Evolution When Furth, Sondheim and Harold Prince decided to transform the plays into a musical, they made the “outside person” a single character: ROBERT (Bob, Bobby, Robby, Rob-o)
Opening Number Bobby, come on over for dinner! We'll be so glad to see you! Bobby, come on over for dinner! Just be the three of us, Only the three of us-- We loooooooooooove you! Sondheim: “…in the title song of COMPANY the tight rhymes serve to reflect the joyless repetitiveness of Robert’s life, here the tone is one of easy sophistication, and more the sophistication of the lyricist than of the characters…” “…crowded and incessant rhyming is something I deplore in the work of others (Ira Gershwin, in particular), but something I’m not always abel to avoid myself, I regret to say…”
Sondheim’s notes on BEING ALIVE “BEING ALIVE was not the first song intended for Robert’s climactic musical statement, it was the third. In an earlier version of the show, Amy reneges on her promise to marry Paul at the end of Act One, and Robert proposes to her at the end of Act Two. In that version, Kathy, the girl most suited to him, has just told him she’s leaving New York to get married and Robert, in his unrecognized despair, convinces himself that Amy is the girl for him. Singing, he wanders through all the rooms of his married friends, reflecting on the knowledge of married life he has accumulated throughout the evening…” We tried a song called MULTITUDES OF AMY, and a real downer of a song called HAPPILY EVERY AFTER (too much of a downer)…It was “Michael Bennett who came up with the idea of using the same technique of interlaced spoken voices from Roberts friends that we had used [earlier] to break through this moment of crisis. That suggested to me a song which could progress from complaint to prayer. Thus “Being Alive.”
SWEENEY TODD THE NOTION… England in 1849 Sweeney Todd, a barber unjustly convicted and sent to an Australian prison, escapes and returns to London, determined to avenge himself on Judge Turpin, the man who convicted him. He allies himself with his former landlady, Nellie Lovett, but his plans to kill the Judge go awry and in his frustration he sets out to avenge himself on the world. “SWEENEY TODD” has been called by people who care about cagtegories everything from an opera to a song cycle. When pressed, I have referred to it as a dark operetta…What it is really is a movie for the stage.”
Sondheim on “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” “If ever there was an example of “God is in the details, “ it’s in the line that opens this show: “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.” Detail 1: the use of “attend” to mean “listen to” is just archaic enough to tell the audience that this will be a period piece. Detail 2: the idea of a “tale” suggests that the audience not take the story realistically but as a fable, and opens them up to accept the bizarrerie of the events which follow; it also promises a story that will unfold like a folk ballad, foreshadowing the numerous choruses of the song…Detail 3: the alliteration on the first, second and fourth accented beats of “atTEND the TALE of Sweeney TODD” is not only a microcosm of the AABA form of the song itself, but in its very formality gives the line a sinister feeling…
Sondheim on “A Little Priest” “…a list song…made up of numerous professions and social positions, each little verse dealing with a different one. In order to keep the pattern going (and pattern recognition is essential to comic list songs— look at “Let’s Do It” and “Adelaide’s Lament” for two outstanding examples) I’d have to find a few other one-syllable professions or social positions such as “clerk” or “fop” which could spin off enough triple rhymes…” Until 2007 I had always been bothered by the way I filled out the last quatrain: “Meaning anyone” is a stocking-stuffer, an unnecessary intensifier clearly present for the sole purpose of padding the quatrain into shape. It wasn’t until pondering changes for the movie of Sweeney Todd that it occurred to me to make a virtue of repetition instead of hiding it, and so the pair of conspirators sang:
TODD We’ll not discriminate great from small. No, we’ll serve anyone--! MRS LOVETT We’ll serve anyone--! BOTH And to anyone At all!
Sondheim on ASSASSINS “A book musical masquerading as a revue, featuring nine of the thirteen assassins who have attempted to kill the president of the United States.” “…the score [consists] mostly of pastiches of different musical styles…” “the structure of the show was to be a dreamlike vaudeville, skipping backward and forward in time (a hundred years worth) and would incorporate a number of different theatrical modes, from burlesque to melodrama, with a few straightforward stops in between.”
Unworthy of Your Love “..if I were asked to name the show that comes closest to my expectations for it, the answer would be Assassins. …as far as I’m concerned, the show is perfect. Immodest that may sound, but I’m ready to argue it with anybody.
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE THE NOTIONTHE NOTION Act One concerns the French painter Georges Seurat and his creation of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte which took more than two years to complete. Act Two deals with the artistic crisis experienced by his great-grandson, an American conceptual artist in his forties, named George.
AMONG HIS MOST FAMOUS LYRICS… “Art Isn’t Easy”“Art Isn’t Easy” from Putting It Together