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My Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends highlights



CREDIT: DANNY KAAN


The concert dedicated to the late great musical theatre writer "Stephen Sondheim" aired on the BBC, originally filmed at the Sondheim Theatre the show was a concert of celebration of the writers greatest musical theatre works, like Into the Woods, Company & West Side Story.

 

Performed by a bunch of great celebrities some of the musical theatre community & some not (Judi Dench, Rob Houchen & Clive Rowe) to name but a few...they all came together for one massive celebration concert


The show was staged by Matthew Bourne and Maria Friedman, with Stephen Mear on choreography, the show was a great treat presenting songs from the man who shaped so many performers careers.


The show treated us all to great songs from the Sondheim's greatest musicals. This isn't a review as such, as to be honest I felt a little to harsh to write a review about a show dedicated to the person who has given the theatre community amazing pieces of theatre throughout his life. So this is more of a "Highlights blog" of things that was great! A great way to start of the New Year hey? So here are 5 highlights ( which aren't in order ) from "Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends"...


HIGHLIGHT 1 - INTO THE WOODS - INTO THE WOODS


CREDIT: DANNY KAAN


This song was great, it was performed by the whole cast, they performed the song to the audience, yes. The concert was performed to the audience but this number felt like the actual shows opening number with the cast breaking the fourth wall to engage the audience bringing them into the world of the show.


This number really did feel like you were going to actually watch the full show.


Into the Woods is a collection of fairy tale stories brought all together, it debuted in San Diego in 1986 then moved to Broadway a year later then opened in the WestEnd in 1990.


Into the Woods is currently playing on Broadway at the St. James theatre, which stars Broadway's biggest stars and is playing until the 8th of January. The show also had a revival in the UK last year with a hopeful WestEnd transfer.



HIGHLIGHT 2 - WEST SIDE STORY - TONIGHT QUINTET


CREDIT: DANNY KAAN


Adapted from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. this performance of the famous 4 part song was a great opener to Act 2.


Performed by Shan Ako, Rob Houchen, Christine Allado, Louis Gaunt and the ensemble of the show. All four were incredible, with also the company sounding amazing overall.


West Side Story was Stephen's lyric writing debut. It had a town tryout in Manchester before opening In the WestEnd in 1958 and has had 2 movies the original ( 1961 ) and updated version ( 2021)


HIGHLIGHT 3 - SEND IN THE CLOWNS - A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC


CREDIT: DANNY KAAN


Judi Dench is phenomenal whether that is singing or acting. Whenever I hear Send in the Clowns, when it gets played on Magic at the Musicals, and it's one of them songs that you know and sing to when played and you sing-along to.


(Whilst I wrote this weirdly enough it was played on Magic...)


A Little Night Music is inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film in 1955.


It came to the WestEnd in 1975 playing at the Adelphi Theatre after its original Broadway debut in 1973.


HIGHLIGHT 4 - NOT GETTING MARRIED TODAY - COMPANY


To anyone who sings this... I applaud you, that song is one of the most...difficult to sing, and Anna-Jane Casey performed the song marvellously well. The song is very, very, very, very wordy and getting all the words out that, well like that should get a standing ovation...that goes to anyone who performs the song as you are amazing!


Company is a show that follows a non chronological order, but this Company doesn't really have a plot in a way and follows a theme rather than the story, this would be classed as a concept musical, which is something rarely seen.


Company opened in the WestEnd in 1972, 2 years after its debut in Broadway. In the latest revival of the show both WestEnd and Broadway swapped the main character and various other characters genders and the new revival won best new revival at the Lawrence Olivier awards and across the pond.


HIGHLIGHT 5 - SUNDAY - SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE


This was one of the most powerful performances of the whole show...when hearing the first few notes of this song it gave me chills down my spine and it was one of the most WOW moments before the interval. The whole company was madly insane I felt the power from them all.


I do think that Sunday is one of the most powerful of Sondheim's songs.


The show, which is inspired by the french painting by George Seurat, opened off Broadway before moving to Broadway in 1984.


the show was supposed to come back and have a WestEnd revival but due to the pandemic, it was cancelled and unclear whether it'll return.


 

CREDIT: DANNY KAAN



The show was just perfection in every way shape and form it truly brought some of the greatest songs together for the great musical theatre writer. The life and the legacy of which will live on for a long time for sure with many revivals coming this year. We are truly spoiled by what Stephen gave us, young theatre fans like me and the older fans will at some point have heard a song from one of his musicals, some of us may have heard a song of his and that is what made us fall in love with theatre and the old friends concert made me feel this is why I love theatre the feeling I got when Sunday came on...that is what a great musical theatre song should do.


Stephen Sondheim's old friends is on BBC IPlayer now



* permission for use of pictures within this blog by "DANNY KAAN" *


WRITER HARRY BROGAN












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1 Comment


Sarah Brogan
Sarah Brogan
Jan 01, 2023

Absolutely loved the show ♥️

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