The National Theatre has released a behind-the-scenes clip from a recent photoshoot for their upcoming Follies. In the short, 30-second video, the four leads – Imelda Staunton (Sally), Janie Dee (Phyllis), Philip Quast (Buddy) and Peter Forbes (Buddy) – ready themselves for the fashion photographer Perou (aka Ralph John Perou), before being snapped as a quartet in front of a crumbling theatre set. It’s a tantalising clip, with presumably stock-library music, but it should whet the appetite for any fan desperate to see the Sondheim-Goldman classic back on the London stage.
We’re also thrilled that two SSSSPOTY finalists are in the cast: Alex Young (2010 winner), playing the Young Sally, and Adrian Grove (2008 winner) as Sam Deems.
Follies opens on 22nd August and has had its run extended through until January 2018. It will be directed by Dominic Cooke, with Nigel Lilley as MD and Bill Deamer as choreographer....Read More »
This year’s third place winner at The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition, Oscar Conlon-Morrey, will be singing at the Phoenix Artist Club this coming Monday as part of The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret night with Tim McArthur and Aaron Clingham. Oscar took the unprecedented third place prize after judges were unable to agree on the runner-up at this year’s event. In order to celebrate the top three students, Society patron Julia McKenzie generously donated the £250 third prize.
Part of the SSSSPOTY prize – in addition to the cash prizes of £1,000, £500 and this year £250 – the winners are invited to sing at a Society cabaret. Oscar is first up, and it’s hoped that we might hear a reprise of his winning number, “The Contest”, as sang by Adolfo Pirelli the “Italian” barber who challenges Sweeney Todd to a shave-off. Everyone was in agreement that...Read More »
Join our host TIM McARTHUR and MD AARON CLINGHAM as they welcome three new guests to The Stephen Sondheim Society’s monthly cabaret at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End. As ever, you’ll enjoy a mix of Sondheim, new musical theatre writing and a selection of Broadway standards.
This month’s line up:
MADDY BANKS trained in Musical Theatre at Newcastle College and then went on to graduate from the London School of Musical Theatre in 2016. She recently made her professional debut as Alice in When Harry Met Barry (Above The Stag Theatre). Credits while training include Medea in Jason and the Argonauts (Bridewell Theatre), Cinderella in Into The Woods and Viola in excerpts of Twelfth Night. Workshops include: Lia’s Guide To Winning The Lottery...Read More »
Jeremy Chapman reports back from the 11th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year – a Sunday afternoon of Sondheim and new writing for the stage, performed by 12 of the UK’s best students of musical theatre.
There’s no stopping those glorious gals! Scots lass Izuka Hoyle made it four in a row for the fair sex at the prestigious Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year awards by following Corrine Priest, Erin Doherty and Courtney Bowman into the winner’s enclosure at a noisy Noel Coward Theatre.
Each of the 12 finalists brought college pals with them to cheer them on in the 11th SSSSPOTY competition and the partisan support when Master of Ceremonies Clive Rowe made his introductions created a tremendous buzz.
It was a total about-turn after the guys had run up a 6-1 lead with only 2010 winner Alex Young, one of this year’s judges and joining...Read More »
Join us on Monday 5th June at 7.30 pm for another evening of Sondheim cabaret at the Phoenix Artist Club. As ever, our host Tim McArthur and MD Aaron Clingham will present a mix of Sondheim, new musical theatre writing and some songbook standards, with the help of three special guests.
To book, click here, call 0333 666 3366 or buy at the door. Tickets cost just £15, and members of The Stephen Sondheim Society can purchase them at the discounted rate of just £12.
This month’s line up:
Abigail Carter-Simpson trained at the Guildford School of Acting, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre.
She is currently appearing in ‘Cream!’ at The Canal Cafe Theatre until 11th June 2017. Her next venture is Newsrevue at the Pleasance Theatre for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this coming August.
Recent credits include: Breaking Up Is Hard To...Read More »
Claybourne Elder has just finished portraying the character of the soldier Napoleon in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway – the first Sondheim production to ever gross more than $1 million in a single week. The fact that its leading man is Jake Gyllenhaal probably has something to do with its financial success, and Elder has the (unenviable?) task of covering for the Hollywood star.
Just before the show’s final matinee, under the din of the microphone tests – and the technical check for the incredible Chromolume light show invention that appears in Act 2 – Craig Glenday spoke to Elder about his experience on the musical, his history with Sondheim, and also his upcoming visit to London for a one-night-only cabaret entitled You and Me and Sondheim, scheduled for Sunday 30th...Read More »
The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… returns with another great Monday night cabaret line up, hosted as ever by Tim McArthur and with the incredible MD Aaron Clingham at the piano. This month’s special guests are all from the sell-out hit production of The Frogs at the Jermyn Street so don’t miss it!
The show starts at 7.30 pm at The Phoenix Artist Club beneath the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road. Tickets are £12 to Society members and £15 to non-members. How better to end your Bank Holiday May Day than by enjoying a night of Sondheim, show-tune classics and some new writing for the stage?!
EMMA RALSTON: Emma trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include: Pluto in The Frogs (Jermyn Street Theatre), News Revue (Canal Cafe Theatre), Fairy BowBelles in Jack & The Beanstalk, Destiny in Mars Rover (Park Theatre/ Beam16), Sarah in Jog On (Soho Theatre/ So & So Arts Club), Little Red Ridinghood in Into the...Read More »
The National Theatre has issued more details on the cast for their upcoming production of Follies, which will play at the Olivier from 22 August until 4 November this year. The dates of four special talks have also been announced. Among the cast is SSSSPOTY winner Alex Young, who will play the young Sally, and Tracie Bennett, who sang “Broadway Baby” at the Society’s gala in honour of Sondheim’s 85th birthday (which was directed by Bill Deamer, who will be choreographing Follies).
The cast so far, in alphabetical order, is:
Sarah Marie Maxwell
Director: Dominic Cooke
Designer: Vicki Mortimer
Choreographer: Bill Deamer
Music...Read More »
On behalf of all members of The Stephen Sondheim Society, we’d like to wish a very happy birthday to our patron, Steve. Many happy returns!...Read More »
Don’t miss the chance to hear some of the West End’s best talents performing their favourite Sondheim numbers this coming Monday 13th March. The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… returns with Tim McArthur and Aaron Clingham, joined by guest stars Valerie Cutko, Robert Irons and Madeleine MacMahon.
BOOK HERE NOW! At just £15 a seat, or £12 for Sondheim Society members, it’s great value, and a delightful way to pass an otherwise miserable Monday night!
VALERIE CUTKO has appeared in the West End as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret, Madame Egorova in Beautiful and Damned, Marlene Dietrich in Piaf and The Queen of Transylvania in My Fair Lady (National Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall). She played Madame Giry in The Phantom of the Opera (UK Tour), Mrs Mullin in Carousel at the Arcola Theatre, Ninotchka...Read More »
Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who is currently in rehearsal for Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway, has posted a video to his Facebook page showing him singing through “Finishing The Hat”. The stylish video, filmed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, shows Gyllenhaal walking down through the Hudson’s fly system as he sings, finally arriving on stage to join musical director Chris Fenwick and his band. The 36-year-old Academy-Award-nominated actor is due to make his Broadway debut in the newly re-opened Hudson on Saturday 11th Feb for a 10-week run.
He previously performed the lead role of Georges Seurat to much acclaim in a three-night New York City Center concert production in October last year. Reprising her role as Dot will be Annaleigh Ashford. If you didn’t catch them then, now’s your chance, and as this newly posted video shows, Jake can certainly sing!
Tickets are now on...Read More »
We’re pleased to confirm that the final of the 11th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition – better known as SSSSPOTY – will take place on Sunday 11th June 2017 at the Noël Coward Theatre in St Martin’s Lane, London, meaning that 12 lucky finalists will get the chance to sing in front of a West End audience – and the all-important celebrity jury, chaired once again by Edward Seckerson.
The students entering the competition will be expected to sing one Sondheim song, plus one new song, selected from 12 shortlisted songs submitted by members of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD). The first prize for the best student performance is £1,000, while the writers of the best new song will also win £1,000, plus the chance to win the Stiles & Drewe Prize, which offers a mentorship package to the writers of the best new musical. The runner-up student will...Read More »
Due to popular demand, The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret evenings are returning for 2017, kicking off on 30th January with three new guest stars joining our host Tim McArthur and MD Aaron Clingham.
The other good news is that we’ve kept the ticket prices the same, and members of the Society will continue to receive a 20% discount on all tickets purchased.
Members of the Society will be emailed with the discount password, so check your inbox for our latest mail-out.
These delightfully intimate cabarets, staged in the Phoenix Artist Club lounge in London’s West End, are a celebration of all things Stephen Sondheim, presented with a mix of some new and recent songwriting for the stage plus classics from the musical-theatre songbook. They’re also a chance to showcase some of the best talent in the West End, and to provide a platform for new and upcoming performers, including winners and...Read More »
Fans of West Side Story – and of musical theatre in general – were treated to an hour-long documentary this Christmas produced and directed by Ursula Macfarlane and fronted by choreographer Bruno Tonioli and broadcaster Suzy Klein. Richly illustrated with archive footage, new interviews and musical excerpts played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra – conducted by Gareth Valentine – and sung by, among others, Rob Houchen, Stewart Clarke, Zoe Doano and Gemma Sutton, West Side Stories: The Making of a Classic is a respectful and fascinating contribution to the history of musical theatre.
Sondheim, of course, features heavily, being the last remaining of the four core creatives, alongside Leonard Bernstein (composer), Jerome Robbins (choreographer) and Arthur Laurents (writer).
From his home in Turtle Bay, New York, Sondheim speaks with Klein about his experience on the show. “Musically, I learned a lot from Lenny, seeing how he approached writing,” said Steve. “Osmosis, you know? He never lectured me – none of...Read More »
Elliot Harper Productions – the new theatre company formed by Tony- and Olivier-Award-winning theatre director Marianne Elliott and theatre producer Chris Harper – has announced that they will be bringing Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company to London’s West End, as part of a new season of shows starting next August.
Elliot, who won acclaim for her productions of War Horse and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, will direct, and – intriguingly – the role of Bobby will become Bobbie and be played by Rosalie Craig. “If it’s a 35-year-old woman, and set now, then 35-year-old women are starting to think about settling down,” said Elliot in an interview with Baz Bamigboye. “They are thinking about the body clock and they think: Should they be with someone permanent?”
Craig reacted by tweeting “I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited!!!”
Sondheim approved the gender switch after Elliot and...Read More »
Concert pianist Anthony de Mare, the mastermind behind the Liaisons project – “Re-imagining Sondheim from the Piano” – gave an outstanding performance at the Milton Court Concert Hall, part of the Guildhall School of Music at the Barbican, this Sunday evening.
This landmark commissioning and concert project invited 36 composers to rework a Sondheim song of their choice for solo piano, and the result is a fascinating – and gorgeous – collection of works that take classic Sondheim themes and motifs and knead them into something new.
The concert, which saw around 30 Society members in attendance, featured a selection of 13 of the new commissions, from composers as diverse as Winton Marsalis, Steve Reich, Duncan Sheik and Mark Anthony Turnage… a roster of composers who, between them, have won 34 Pulitzers, Grammys, Tonys and Academy Awards.
I, for one, found it utterly compelling, hearing these familiar, much-loved melodies stretched, folded and moulded into new works of...Read More »
Don’t miss the last Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret of the year! It’s scheduled for Monday 14th November at our usual spot in the Phoenix Artist Club, just downstairs from the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End. Our inimitable host Tim McArthur and MD Aaron Clingham will be joined by three more leading lights of musical theatre, singing a selection of Sondheim songs, classics from the musical-theatre songbook and some pieces of new and recent songwriting for the stage.
BOOK HERE for Monday 14th Nov 2016, 7.30pm Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix St, London WC2H 8BU
Taking to the mic this time will be:
Wimbledon Light Opera are presenting Company at the Lost Theatre London from the 9th to the 12th of November. From their site: “We’re delighted that our autumn show will be the sublime musical comedy, Company, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. Company centres around Bobby and the celebration of his 35th birthday. Set in New York, we’re introduced to various couples in Bobby’s life through a series of vignettes exploring marriage.”
BOBBY – Michael Stacey
AMY – Charlotte Donald
PAUL – Will Moss
JENNY – Kate Vlietstra
DAVID – Neil Wease
JOANNE – Tal Hewitt
LARRY – Ron Packowitz
SARAH – Mary Clare
HARRY – Stephen Hewitt
SUSAN – Ellie Cahill
PETER – Adam Walker
APRIL – Abbie Minnock
KATHY – Rosie Miles
MARTA – Hannah McKenna-Vickerstaff
Director: Zoe Dobell
Musical Director: Ben Nicholls
Producer: Avril Stanford
The LOST theatre
Wandsworth Road, SW8 2JU
Tube: Vauxhall, Stockwell
Bus: 77, 87, 196, P5
You can...Read More »
Students from the London College of Music will be presenting two Sondheim musicals (well, one and half) over the coming months. First up is the Bernstein-Sondheim collaboration West Side Story this December as part of the college’s Shakespeare 400 Festival. The production will boast a cast of 43 students at Weston Hall, University of West London, St Mary’s Road, Ealing, from 7th to 17th December.
From the LCM website:
As part of UWL Shakespeare400, LCM BA Music Theatre present the world’s greatest love story in this landmark Broadway musical that is one of the theatre’s finest accomplishments. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to modern-day New York City, as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of...Read More »
The documentary movie Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened has premiered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall as part of the New York Film Festival. The behind-the-scene film tells the story of the original 1981 production of Merrily We Roll Along, which Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim were convinced would be a success. Of course, it ended up being the golden duo’s biggest flop, closing after just 16 performances.
Abramorama have picked up the movie for theatrical distribution in the USA. We’ve yet to hear about a UK showing but will announce details if and when we hear anything....Read More »
Join Tim McArthur and Aaron Clingham for another evening of Sondheim cabaret, new musical theatre writing and more at the next Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… night at the Phoenix Artist Club. This month’s line-up – on Monday 10th October – features three more exciting names from the London theatre scene: Katy Baker, David Breeds and Abigail Matthews.
Tickets cost just £15 and, as ever, members can enjoy a discount by using the regular password. Book now at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EIFLGF
Katy Baker trained at Central School of Speech and Drama. She started a group called Four Femmes on the Thames with three other friends from drama school and gigs in and around London in venues places as Ronnie Scott’s, The Hideaway and The Savoy.
As an actress, theatre credits include Nikki in Glitch and Turn (Bubble and Squeak), Mignon in Lulu7 (So & So Productions), Kathryn Barker in Sing...Read More »
The National Theatre has announced that the centrepiece of their 2017 Autumn season will be Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies. And as if that news is not exciting enough, starring in the roles of Sally and Phyllis will be Sondheim stalwarts Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee.
Follies is to be directed by Dominic Cooke, who recently helmed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the National. London has been due a Follies for many years now – other than one-off concert performances, it was last presented in the capital at the Pleasance in June 2011 by Ray Rackham’s 2nd Company, and at the tiny Landor Theatre in 2006, and the last large-scale production was Paul Kerryson’s in 2002 at the Royal Festival Hall, where it only ran for a limited period of 32 shows.
It’s going to be busy time for Imelda Staunton, who’s currently in rehearsal for Who’s Afraid...Read More »
In the first of a new series of Q&As, The Stephen Sondheim Society visits the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall to talk to the stars of its latest show: Floyd Collins. This 1994 musical is by composer/lyricist Adam Guettel – grandson of Richard Rodgers, godson of Arthur Laurents, and in some way aprotégé of Sondheim – and tells the true story of a prospector trapped in a sand cave.
Sondheim fans will undoubtedly be intrigued to see this rare work, as Guettel is often cited as his successor to the Broadway throne. “The Riddle Song”, which closes the first act, is also one of the songs that Sondheim claims that he wishes he’d written.
In the video, stars Ashley Robinson (Floyd) and Rebecca Trehearn (Nellie) speak to Sondheim Society Chairman Craig Glenday about this challenging piece, as well as their experience in Sondheim shows. Ashley will be familiar to fans of Maria Friedman’s Merrily...Read More »
7pm, 15th October 2015, Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, London
Spanish performer Joan Vázquez packs his bags and flies in for his London debut at Crazy Coqs to celebrate music theatre genius Stephen Sondheim.
Accompanied by himself on piano, Joan makes his renditions of legendary songs such as ‘Losing My Mind’, ‘Finishing the Hat’, ‘Send in the Clowns’ or ‘Being Alive’ while delivering Mr. Sondheim’s witty quotes on the state of the art, love and life.
Stephen Sondheim is an Academy-Award, Tony and Pulitzer winner for ‘Company’, ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘A Little Night Music’, ‘Follies’, ‘Sunday in the Park with George’, ‘Merrily We Roll Along’, ‘Passion’ and ‘Into the Woods’.
Joan has been in many shows in Barcelona and Madrid such as ‘Merrily We Roll Along’, ‘Hair’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘The History Boys’, ‘Bagdad Café’, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Rent’.
‘Something’s Coming: a Sondheim Tribute’ ran both in Barcelona and Madrid with great acclaim.
Joan will also be...Read More »
The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… Monday 12 September, 7.30 pm, Phoenix Artist Club. BOOK NOW!
We’re pleased to announce the line up for this September’s The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret at the Phoenix Artist Club. We’re particularly excited about this upcoming cabaret as it features our first transatlantic guest, a Society member who’s just returned from a hit season in Edinburgh, and an award-winning Australian mezzo-soprano fresh from depicting Judy Garland…
Gary Bland trained at Rose Bruford and began his performance career in 2012, aged 51. Since then, he has played Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler, and appeared in the award winning Epidemic produced by the Old Vic. He made his feature film debut in Les Misérables, and his West End stage debut was in December 2013 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, as an Ugly Sister. In May 2014, Gary had a principal role as Old Joe Boyd in Damn Yankees at the Landor, which...Read More »
The soprano Sarah Rice, who originated the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd, is interviewed this week in a fascinating article for Broadway World. In it, Rice talks fondly of her time on the show – nearly one year – and the impact that Sondheim and director Hal Prince had on her career (“[they] were like the gods of my idolatry and to actually get to work with them was truly a dream come true.”)
Rice also reveals how particular Sondheim was with his lyrics:
“Ten o’clock in the morning, I’m up on the damn platform off-book for the first time doing ‘Green Finch’ and I sang, ‘How can you refrain staring at the rain?’ instead of ‘How can you remain staring at the rain?’ because I couldn’t think of the word so I did something that kind of sounded like it. Sondheim came...Read More »
Eltham College are back in Edinburgh one year after their hugely successful production of Sweeney Todd with their version of Merrily We Roll Along.
Co-director Ben Pollard said:
“The production is now half way through its eight-show run, with just four more performances to go until the show closes this Saturday. Performances are in C Venues, which is Venue 34 on Chambers Street. The production runs at just under two hours and features a cast of 20 plus a ten-piece band. Audience response has been excellent. Fellow Edinburgh performers tweeted yesterday that ‘the entire cast were world class – congratulations.’ Martin Gray described it on Twitter as ‘unmissable for musicals fans.’ Shaun Nolan wrote: ‘beautifully sung by a stunning cast – so much fun!’ Broadway Baby called it ‘musically beautiful.’ Come and see this wonderful show while you can.”
...Read More »
For those of you not able to make it to our annual Garden Party, take a look at edited clips from the informal concert. The Sondheim Society garden party was held this year once again at the Windsor home of David & Pat Oldcorn. For part of the afternoon, students from the Royal Academy of Music’s Musical Theatre course sang a selection of Sondheim numbers, accompanied on the piano by Trevor Defford and Stephen Dickinson. The RAM students were joined this year again by Duncan Shelton, who is soon to embark on his Musical Theatre studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Thanks to the Oldcorns for once again hosting this lovely afternoon; to our pianists Trevor and Stephen; to Duncan; and to the RAM students Johan Berg, Victoria Blackburn, Elissa Churchill, Tao (Tim) Deng, Becky Harrison and Judith von Orelli.
Read more about the 2016 Garden Party here....Read More »
The much-anticipated musical being developed by Stephen Sondheim and playwright David Ives could well be on stage in the next year, according to the composer himself. At the recent Glimmerglass Festival in New York, Sondheim hinted that the show – a mash-up of two movies by surrealist Luis Buñuel – would premiere at New York’s Public Theater in 2017.
In correspondence with The Stephen Sondheim Society, Mr Sondheim also revealed in passing that a reading of the show is scheduled for next month. Watch this space!...Read More »
Danielle Tarento presents Allegro.
Music by Richard Rodgers. Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Southwark Playhouse 5 August – 10 September 2016
In 1905 in a small Midwestern town, the wife of a local doctor gives birth to a baby boy, Joseph Taylor Jr. Allegro chronicles nearly four decades in the life of this average Joe – through his childhood, from college dorm to marriage altar, and on to his own medical career; from the tranquility of his hometown to the hectic din of big city life and a mid-life discovery of who he is and what his life is truly about, ultimately learning the most important lessons of all – the value of family, that money isn’t everything and that home really is where the heart is.
With a gorgeous, epic score by Richard Rodgers and a ground-breaking book by Oscar Hammerstein II, Allegro opened in 1947 to the highest advance in...Read More »
Contemporary pianist Anthony de Mare performs reinterpretations of the music of theatre composer Stephen Sondheim, written by composers from Steve Reich to Wynton Marsalis.
From Company to Sweeney Todd, Sondheim has made his mark on the history of musical theatre; this project demonstrates how his influence reaches beyond the stage or the screen onto the wider musical landscape. de Mare commissioned 36 of the world’s foremost contemporary composers to each take a song by Sondheim and re-imagine it as a solo piano piece, all of which were released as a triple disc album for ECM. Stripped down for solo piano these re-imaginings show off the versatility of Sondheim’s music, retaining the depth of feeling in even the most abstract interpretations.
‘Anthony de Mare gave vibrant, colourful performances, his passion for Sondheim coming through palpably’ – New York Times
‘It’s not every pianist who has such imagination along with the passion, commitment and virtuoso...Read More »
This coming Saturday morning at 9:00 am, Radio 4 Extra will be broadcasting a repeat of the National Theatre production of Sweeney Todd starring Denis Quilley and Julia McKenzie. The show, first broadcast on Radio 2 in July 1994, will be introduced by Sheridan Morley and will last 2 hr 35 min.
Declan Donnellan’s landmark production – named by Sondheim as one of his favourites, particularly thanks to Julia’s wonderful turn as Mrs Lovett – began life at the Cottesloe in June 1993 and starred Alun Armstrong as Sweeney and Quilley as the Judge. Famously dubbed “Teeny Todd” on account of its chamber nature, it nevertheless won Olivier Awards for Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Armstrong) and Best Actress in a Musical (McKenzie), as well as nominations for Best Director and two for Best Supporting Performance in a musical. In December 1993, it transferred...Read More »
This Sunday, The Stephen Sondheim Society will be attending the tale of Sweeney Todd, as recounted by students from the Royal Academy of Music. The Sondheim-Wheeler classic has returned to the Theatre Royal Stratford East – the very theatre where Steve Sondheim saw Christopher Bond’s menacing reworking of the penny dreadful in 1973 and was inspired to the write his musical magnum opus. There, the Academy’s Musical Theatre students will reveal the fruits of their hard work over the past year, accompanied by RAM instrumentalists, presenting both Sweeney Todd and the Stephen Schwartz musical Rags.
“Our performances of Sweeney Todd and Rags will be the culmination of unrelentingly hard work and a lot of talent,” writes Daniel Bowling, Head of Musical Theatre at the Academy. “All of the students in these shows have invested huge time and effort over this past year towards learning their craft and honing their skills...Read More »
Stephen Sondheim appears to be well represented in this year’s programme for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with productions of Assassins, Company (with a female Bobbi!), two Into The Woods (including the Junior version) and Merrily We Roll Along all listed. And his name has been dropped at least twice in cabaret listings, ensuring that Sondheim fans north of the border will find something to enjoy in the capital this summer.
Click on the titles to be taken to the relevant booking pages
“At the age of 25, Bobbi should be finding the one. When her friends aren’t fighting or lying to their soulmates they worry about their poor baby, Bobbi. She’s all alone. To her, commitment is unthinkable; constantly sharing, caring, compromising would be insufferable. But every day she finds it harder to justify the single...Read More »
Tim McArthur and Aaron Clingham will be returning to The Phoenix Artist Club in July for the fourth of our regular cabaret evenings. This time, we’ve got a glittering line up that includes Courtney Bowman, this year’s well-deserving winner of The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition. Joining Courtney for her Society debut will be Side by Side by Sondheim‘s Sarah Redmond and West End regular Gary Tushaw.
TIME: 7.30–9.30 pm
TICKETS: £15 (or £12 to Society members)
BOOKING: Call the Phoenix box office on 0333 666 3366
“The idea behind these cabarets,” says Society Chairman Craig Glenday, “is to celebrate Sondheim, of course, but also to encourage and support new and emerging talent. This is why we stipulated that part of the prize for our Student Performer of the Year winner should be the chance to...Read More »
James Brining’s production of Into The Woods closes tonight (25th June) after a successful run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. By all accounts, it appears to have been a roaring success, garnering four- and five-star reviews both locally and nationally.
The Stage awarded the show – a co-production with Opera North – four stars. “James Brining’s bold staging of Sondheim and Lapine’s dark fairytale fusion must surely go down in the annals as the first truly epic account,” reported Roger Foss, who was particularly impressed with the scale and ambition of the show. “With a cast of two dozen principals drawn from the Opera North chorus, Sondheim’s complex harmonies and lyrics are given full vocal measure… A skilfully conceived collaboration, delighting and challenging the ear, the eye and the mind.”
The Stephen Sondheim Society is back at the The Phoenix Artist Club with another cabaret hosted by Tim McArthur and MD’d by Aaron Clingham. Joining Tim and Aaron for an evening of Sondheim, new writing and show-tune classics on 13 June 2016 is Katie Brennan, Grant McConvey and Sarah Waddell.
WHEN: Monday 13th June 2016
TIME: 7.30–9.30 pm
TICKETS: £15 (or £12 to Society members)
Katie Brennan describes herself as a “blogger, writer, actress and gin drinker” but is best known to theatre audiences as an actress and cabaret artist. Katie graduated from the Guildford School of Acting in 2010 with an MA (Distinction) in Musical Theatre, received the Ian Fleming Award and was selected as The Stage Critics Choice. Having performed in everything from Panto to Pinter, Katie is also a successful cabaret performer, her own solo shows Song...Read More »
Sondheim Society Patron Bernadette Peters performed in her first London solo concert for more than 15 years on Friday 3rd June, delighting the capacity audience at the Royal Festival Hall with a diverse programme that encompassed Jule Styne, Rodgers and Hammerstein and, of course, Stephen Sondheim, with a bit of Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee thrown in for good measure.
Looking – literally – half her age, the beautiful Bernadette sashayed on stage and remained there for 90 glorious minutes, delivering a thrilling cabaret backed by MD Marvin Laird and her regular drummer and bassist, supported by eight guest musicians from the UK. From her opening number – the apt “Let Me Entertain You” from Gypsy – through to her self-penned encore “Kramer’s Song”, about her pet dog, Bernadette proved why she’s up there with the other great Bs: Barbra Streisand, Barbara Cook, Betty Buckley, Pearl Bailey and Carol Burnett.
Among the Sondheim songs selected were “In...Read More »
Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhal has confirmed that he will be appearing in a one-off concert version of Sunday in the Park with George to be staged at the New York City Center on 24th October this year.
The 35-year-old actor, who wowed audiences in a two-night Encores! Off-Center concert staging of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s Little Shop of Horrors at the same venue in 2015, will star as George Seurat, although as yet no other names have been attached to the gala event.
The New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley described Gyllenhall as “one of the few American movie stars who was also clearly meant to be a stage star. (Can we keep him?).” and the event – in honour of philanthropist Adrienne Arsht – is sure to be a sell-out.
Tickets start at $75, while benefit table prices range from $2,000 to $15,000. Both can be booked here.
The 1840 farmhouse in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Stephen Sondheim was taught the fundamentals of writing musicals by Oscar Hammerstein, is being sold by its current owner. Highland Farm – Hammerstein’s home, where he wrote Oklahoma!, South Pacific and The King and I, and where he died on 23rd August 1960 – has been a bed and breakfast for a number of years but its owner, Christine Cole, has put it back on the market.
Sondheim’s mother also owned a home in Bucks County, and the young Steve would escape her by spending time in the company of the Hammersteins, eventually being taken under Oscar’s wing and given a priceless education in show writing.
The realtor selling the home lists its numerous features: “original leaded glass windows, a hand-carved fireplace in the library and period moldings”… “hand-painted wallpaper and floor stenciling”… “a pear-shaped pool (Hammerstein’s favorite fruit) with cabana”… “Har-Tru...Read More »
The US production of Into The Woods brought to life in New York by Fiasco Theater in 2015 is coming to the Menier Chocolate Factory between 1st July and 17th September this year. The award-winning show, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld and with musical supervision by Matt Castle, will feature a cast of just 10 and includes all but one of the original US cast.
The pared-down – and therefore highly inventive – Fiasco version first opened off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre, where the 20 different parts (including the fake Milky White) were played by a cast of 10 with some additional acting contributions from the musical director. The show went on to win the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival.
Tickets are on sale now at the Menier Chocolate Factory box office, but members should look out for a special discounted offer for the matinee of...Read More »
The Guildford School of Acting’s final-year student Courtney Bowman (21, pictured) claimed the £1,000 first prize in The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition, held at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 15th May. Courtney’s Sondheim song of choice was “Me and My Town”, reprising her role of corrupt Mayoress Cora Hoover from GSA’s production of Anyone Can Whistle in June 2015.
In the Stiles + Drewe Prize – divided into two parts this year – the £1,000 Best New Song award went to Tim Connor’s “Back to School”, and winner of the much-coveted MTI Mentorship award was composer/lyricist Darren Clark and book writer Rhys Jennings for Wicker Husband. Student Ashley Reyes, who sang Tim’s winning song, also received a £100...Read More »
Our friend Rex Bunnett over at Overtures.org.uk has published a fascinating feature on the background to the Stephen Sondheim compilation show Side By Side By Sondheim – the vehicle that effectively launched or at least popularised Sondheim in the UK, and a show that remains a lasting memory for all those who were lucky enough to see it. Packed with original poster art and photographs, the article tracks the conception and development of the production, which starred David Kernan, Julia McKenzie and Millicent Martin. You can find the article here.
While you’re there, I’d recommend you spend some time perusing the Overtures site. The Bunnett-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, as it’s more formally known, is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in the history of musical theatre. The basis of the Trust is a massive archive – one of the largest theatre collections in the world – and there’s...Read More »
The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… continues at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End with three new guests, and Aaron Clingham on the piano. Returning as host is Tim McArthur, who wowed the audience last month with his carefully programmed cabaret and his powerful singing.
The next date is Monday 9th May – tickets are available now – and our guests will be:
HOWARD JENKINS. Howard was recently seen playing to critical acclaim in the central role of Addison Mizner in the first home-grown UK production of Sondheim’s Road Show at the Union Theatre. A graduate of the Arden School of Theatre and the Royal Academy of Music’s Post Graduate Musical Theatre course, Howard was a finalist in the 2011 SSSSPOTY competition (where he sang “Free”), and has already headlined his own cabaret for the Society during our spell at the Leicester Square Theatre Studio. Since graduating, Howard...Read More »
Monday 11th April saw the first of our new season of cabaret performances, and opportunity was taken to tweak further our already successful formula from the Leicester Square Theatre Studio. By David Lardi.
First and foremost was the new venue, The Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix St WC2H 8BU, which is in the basement of the Phoenix Theatre, conveniently situated halfway down Charing Cross Road, midway between Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tubes.
The venue is a private club frequented in the main by people working in the theatre business and originally created in order to provide them with an after-performance watering-hole in those iniquitous days when pubs closed at 10:30pm.
Adjacent to its spacious (and well-stocked) bar is a separate cabaret room with stage and real piano – hooray! – replete with individual tables and chairs. For those of us less than enamoured with the cramped and, frankly,...Read More »
The 10th anniversary of the The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition and the Stiles + Drewe Prize is to take place on 15th May 2016 at the NOVELLO THEATRE in London.
Hosting this special gala event will be JULIAN OVENDEN, star of Downtown Abbey as well as Sunday in the Park with George (Théâtre du Châtelet), Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse) and Sondheim’s 80th Birthday Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.
Among the glittering line-up joining chairman EDWARD SECKERSON in the jury will be Sondheim Society patron JULIA MCKENZIE, lyricist DON BLACK, actress SOPHIE-LOUISE DANN (below) and MD JASON CARR. Musical director for the event will be MARK WARMAN, making his SSSSPOTY debut, and directing proceedings will be CHRIS HOCKING.
The Student Performer of the Year competition this year had a record 80 applicants from the UK’s...Read More »
The Stephen Sondheim Society would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the first of the 2016 season of cabarets at our new venue, The Phoenix Artist Club. The inaugural cabaret – hosted by Tim McArthur and featuring star turns from Valerie Cutko, Martin Milnes and Corrine Priest – was well received and sets the bar high for future Society events.
The Society thanks Valerie, Martin and Corrine for their wonderful performances, and would like to say special thanks to Tim for curating the night, and to David Harvey for taking on the musical duties as MD.
“I’m really pleased with this first cabaret at the Phoenix,” said Society Chairman Craig Glenday....Read More »
Next week, The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret season kicks off at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End, and in the run-up to the first event, we thought you’d like to be introduced to each of the guests starring in the show.
First up, we present our comparable compere, Tim McArthur, who will be joined for the first of the cabarets by MD David Harvey.
Tim trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Stage credits include: Maurice in two seasons of Bathhouse (Above the Stag); Soloist in Gay Company (RADA), Sam Byck in Assassins (Pleasance); Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and Classic Moments: Hidden Treasures (Jermyn Street Theatre); Silence The Musical and Blink (Above the Stag); Blair on Broadway (Arts Theatre); Company (Palace Theatre, Westcliffe); Fred Astaire: His Daughter’s Tribute (London Palladium); Forever Plaid (UK...Read More »
Next week, The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret season kicks off at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End, and in the run-up to the first event, we thought you’d like to be introduced to each of the guests starring in the show.
Our incomparable compère is Sondheim-regular Tim McArthur, ably assisted at the piano by MD David Harvey, and joining him on stage will be Corrine Priest.
During her training at LSMT, Corrine won the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award at the Garrick Theatre in May 2014, out of over 70 students from the top drama schools in the UK. Winning the award gained Corrine her professional debut in GOD! in July 2014.
Since then, Corrine...Read More »
Next week, The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… cabaret season kicks off at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End, and in the run-up to the first event, we thought you’d like to be introduced to each of the guests starring in the show.
Our incomparable compère is Sondheim-regular Tim McArthur, ably assisted at the piano by MD David Harvey, and joining him on stage will be Martin Milnes.
Martin is one half of the musical comedy double act ‘Ferris & Milnes’, which performed “33 Sondheim Numbers In 5 Minutes” in Hey, Old Friends! at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Ferris & Milnes will next appear on April 26th and June 24th at the St James Studio, and have also performed at The Tower of London and The Pheasantry in Chelsea.
Martin’s one man show The Falsetto received five star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival and...Read More »
Our incomparable compère is Sondheim-regular Tim McArthur, ably assisted at the piano by MD David Harvey, and first up to join the gang will be Valerie Cutko.
Valerie’s West End roles include Fraulein Kost in Cabaret, Madame Egorova in Beautiful and Damned, Marlene Dietrich in Piaf and The Queen of Transylvania in My Fair Lady (National Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall). She played Madame Giry in The Phantom of the Opera (UK Tour), Mrs Mullin in Carousel at the Arcola Theatre, Ninotchka in Silk Stockings in a Sadler’s Wells’ concert staging, a role she reprised...Read More »
Everyone at the Stephen Sondheim Society would like to wish Mr Sondheim a very happy 86th birthday for 22nd March....Read More »
This year is officially a SSSSPOTY world record as we have 80 students attending the heats on Sunday. This is 3 higher than the previous record. Wish us luck getting through them all!
We are still working on getting a theatre for the finals; as soon as we have it organised we will publicise the booking arrangements for May 15th.
Stephen Sondheim will be at the National Theatre on Friday March 11th at 6.00 pm to give a Platform Talk.
The award-winning composer and lyricist returns to the National to talk to Rufus Norris about his career, and his views on current musical theatre trends.
We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Mark Warman – one of the UK’s most experienced Musical Directors – has signed up to handle all things musical for this year’s Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year (SSSSPOTY) competition and Stiles and Drewe Prize.
Mark Warman MA, ARCM, Hon ARAM is an MD, conductor, composer, arranger and educator, with a particular interest in musical theatre. His experience as Musical Supervisor for two Sondheim world premieres – Saturday Night at the Bridewell (well known to older members of the Society as the show that we made happen!) and Evening Primrose at Sadler’s Wells – as well as various other Sondheim productions in London makes him the ideal choice for MD’ing our 10th anniversary SSSSPOTY and joining Edward Seckerson as a judge at the heats.
Mark is a music graduate of King’s College, Cambridge where he sang in...Read More »
The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition (SSSSPOTY), now in its tenth year, is proving as popular as ever. So far we have received entries from 37 colleges for 67 students.
The timetable and venue details will be sent to students shortly.
It’s not too late to enter – quite! The closing date for entries is Monday March 7th, if your college hasn’t yet entered, don’t leave it too long to submit....Read More »
The Society enjoyed a wonderful five-star evening at the St James Studio courtesy of Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes, the piano-vocal duo who blew us all away at Sondheim’s 85th birthday gala at Drury Lane last October.
Pianist extraordinaire Ferris and the “two-voiced” Milnes – who switches effortlessly between his regular tenor voice and a soprano-like falsetto – premiered their new residency, Let’s Go On With The Show, at the 100-seat studio on Saturday 30th January.
The eclectic programme showcased the remarkable talents of both performers, and ranged from Gilbert & Sullivan to Elton John via every show played in the West End in the past year – the latter brilliantly condensed in the style of the “33 Sondheim Numbers in 5 Minutes” mash-up that proved such a hit at the Drury Lane gala. Sadly, we didn’t get to hear the Sondheim version, but Dominic promised us that it would make a return...Read More »
Update: Regrettably, Mr Sondheim’s Platform Talk at the National Theatre has been postponed owing to unforeseen circumstances.
According to the National Theatre website:
“We can’t confirm anything just yet but we hope to be able to re-schedule this event for later in the year. When we have a new date, those who have already booked tickets will have priority access to book before public booking is opened.
As we don’t yet have a new date for the Platform, we will be making refunds to all ticket-holders. The refund will be to the card used when making the booking, and should appear on card statements within the next 72 hours.”
Stephen Sondheim will be in London this week to talk at the National Theatre with the NT’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris. The “Platform Talk” will – according to the NT’s website – focus on Sondheim’s “career, and his views on current musical theatre trends”.
Tickets...Read More »
This coming Friday (15 January) at 8:00 pm, The Stephen Sondheim Society Chairman Craig Glenday will be making an appearance on the world’s longest-running live orchestral music programme on radio: Friday Night is Music Night. Craig has helped to curate the content for this special performance, and he’s guaranteed us that some Sondheim will be on the cards.
The theme for the show is “world records”, because when he’s not filling his spare time with matters of a Sondheim nature, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records. This year, GWR celebrated its 60th birthday, so the show is a celebration of both the programme’s record-breaking longevity (it’s been going since 1952!) and also the famous record book’s own diamond anniversary.
“I can’t say too much before the broadcast,” said Craig, “but...Read More »
Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes wowed the audience at Hey, Old Friends! with their rapid-fire mash-up of 33 Sondheim songs, and those of you unlucky enough to have missed their electric performance can now enjoy it thanks to this new video filmed for Steinway & Sons.
Ferris and Milnes proved to be one of the more lustrous gems to feature in Hey, Old Friends!, stopping the show with this remarkable number at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on 25 October 2015. With Dominic on the piano and Martin hitting the high notes – his falsetto is remarkable – the pair rattle through 33 songs in quick succession. Now, their sponsor, Steinway & Sons, have recorded the performance, capturing the sheer joy of this unique act.
Richard Douglas Productions – who also produced Hey, Old Friends! – has confirmed that Martin & Milnes have also secured a residency at the...Read More »
If you missed Imelda Staunton’s award-winning performance as Momma Rose in Gypsy at Chichester or the Savoy (and if you did, you have our sympathy – she was incredible!) then you’ve got another chance this evening, courtesy of BBC4. Tonight at 9pm, BBC4 is screening the entire production, as filmed at the Savoy just prior to the departure of Lara Pulver (Louise/Gypsy) on 10 October.
Staunton’s portrayal of the ultimate showbiz mother was one of the must-sees of 2015, and indeed she’s been hailed by many as the best Momma Rose ever seen on stage. The Stephen Sondheim Society’s US correspondent Daria Begley wrote in Sondheim The Magazine that of the other Mommas she’d seen – Bernadette Peters, Patti Lupone, Tyne Daly and Staunton – the petite English powerhouse was by far the best. And Michael Billington, writing in The Guardian, said that Staunton’s was “one of the greatest performances I’ve...Read More »
The Phil Willmott Company has announced the cast for its upcoming production of Road Show at The Union Theatre in London, and among them is SSSSPOTY alumni Howard Jenkins.
Promoted as the “First UK Production” of the Sondheim/Weidman musical, Willmott’s Road Show runs from 3 February until 5 March 2016 and features Howard Jenkins and Andre Refig as, respectively, Addison and Wilson Mizner. In the role of love interest Hollis is Joshua LeClaire.
Howard will be known to members of The Stephen Sondheim Society for making it to the finals of our 2011 Student Performer of the Year competition. Since then, after finishing a post-grad at the Royal Academy of Music, he played Georg Nowack in She Loves Me at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre (2012) and Warren in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at The Union (2013). In April 2014, he was also the featured...Read More »
With just 11 days to go until the close of 2015, the Trustees and Administrators of The Stephen Sondheim Society would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
We’ve had a busy year, dominated for us by the ninth annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition – congratulations again to Erin Doherty, and thanks to host Michael Xavier and special guest performer Elaine Paige – and of course Hey, Old Friends!, our gala at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. We also enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon at the home of our Treasurer David Oldcorn and his wife Pat for our annual Garden Party.
Next year is already shaping up to be even more filled with Sondheim than this year. Check out the Events listing to find out what we’ve got coming up. We’ve secured tickets for, among other things, Into The Woods...Read More »
The Ladies Who Lunch –
A Celebration of Sondheim’s Women at The Pheasantry, Sloane Square on 20th September.
Sunday 20th September
The Pheasantry, Kings Road, London
Doors 6pm, Show 8pm
With Rebecca Caine, Alex Young, Katy Secombe, Emily Carewe-Jeffries and Theo Jamieson as MD.
Tickets can be purchased with the below link:Read More »
Pianist Anthony de Mare presents a new 3-CD set of 36 songs by legendary composer Stephen Sondheim — arranged and reimagined by some of the world’s most exciting contemporary composers.
De Mare, a renowned champion of contemporary music, invited 36 composers from a wide variety of musical backgrounds — contemporary classical, jazz, pop, film and theatre — to ‘re-imagine’ a song of their choice by Stephen Sondheim as a solo piano piece. The recording sessions for this spanned a four-year period and resulted in a remarkable compendium of new music.
“I created this project,” says Anthony De Mare, “because I wanted to show Sondheim’s influence on composers of many different genres and also to enhance and add to the piano repertoire with a whole new body of work
Composer Stephen Sondheim, overwhelmingly endorsed the project, commenting “I was flattered and intrigued. Over the years I’ve heard songs of mine harmonized differently, and I’ve also heard arrangers change...Read More »
Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ marks the 10th anniversary of the Edinburgh Playhouse’s flagship Stage Experience youth project. This year will see a new creative team led by acclaimed West End performer and director Peter Corry, who returns to the Edinburgh Playhouse having played ‘Inspector Javert’ in 1993’s original record-breaking production of Les Misérables.
Stage Experience is very much the flagship of our creative learning programme and a huge chance for young people aged 11 – 24 to get involved. According producer Adam Knight, “stage experience is about learning. It’s an opportunity to push yourself, to stretch yourself, and challenge yourself by doing something you might not be too confident about doing. It’s all about building self-belief and confidence. That is the important aim.”
Stage Experience attracts have a phenomenally talented bunch of youngsters to audition every year and this year being the tenth anniversary, seemed like a great opportunity to tackle...Read More »
The House of Mirrors and Hearts is a haunting new chamber musical about love, lies and the ghosts of our pasts.
After 3 years of development by Perfect Pitch (LIFT, Soho Theatre; The Go-Between, West Yorkshire Playhouse), this cutting-edge work premieres in a co-production with Aria Entertainment.
Stephen Sondheim meets Tori Amos in Eamonn O’Dwyer and Rob Gilbert’s textured and contemporary score. It tells the story of the Keanes, whose secrets are buried in the fractured family home. When a curious young lodger arrives to stay, his discoveries threaten to shatter their illusions forever. Will the truth out? And what will be left unsaid?
The show features two songs featured in our annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Competition – “Something for the Pain” was memorably sung by winner Corrine Priest in 2014 and “Look at Me” was sung by Amy Bridges this year.
★★★★★ “Without a doubt the best production I have seen...Read More »
Broadway historian Ethan Mordden presents an analysis of the career of Stephen Sondheim in his new book On Sondheim: An Opinionated Guide which it is now available for pre-order.
“In On Sondheim, renowned author Ethan Mordden takes the reader on a tour of Stephen Sondheim’s work, arguing for the importance and appeal of the composer-lyricist in American theatre and, even more, in American culture. Over the course of eighteen shows, Mordden demonstrates that Sondheim is a classical composer who happens to write musicals. Sondheim has intellectualized the musical by tackling serious content usually reserved for the spoken stage: nonconformism (in Anyone Can Whistle, 1964), history (in Pacific Overtures, 1976), and cannibalism as a metaphor for class warfare (Sweeney Todd, 1979). Yet his work combines complex music and intellectual plots with a masterly skill for the fabric of theatre. His shows are all intensely theatrical, produced with flair and brilliance, whether in...Read More »
Producer Cameron Mackintosh has revealed plans for his takeover of the Ambassadors Theatre – to be renamed the Sondheim – that will see it transformed into a space for transfers primarily from the subsidised sector.
Mackintosh wants to transform the interior into a three-tier space with 450 to 475 seats, with shows limited to short runs. Productions with longer-term commercial potential would have to move elsewhere.
According to The Stage, the historic venue – currently home to Stomp – will “host shows from non-proscenium arch spaces that originate in the subsidised sector”.
Nicholas Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, told the Evening Standard the plans for the venue are “satisfying a need that isn’t satisfied in the West End as things stand”.
He added: “There are very few people who would do what Cameron Mackintosh is proposing to do. He’s made a lot of money and is putting it back in… This is...Read More »
A message from the Chairman of the Stephen Sondheim Society
A huge thank you to everyone who pledged – and to those who increased their pledges after our persistent badgering – over the past month. It’s been an amazing experience so far. And so many people have been getting in touch with offers of help and support that I know the next challenging part of the project – actually “putting it together” – will be just as gratifying.
A particularly massive thank you to our chums who gave us their support from the very start and helped us promote the project: Imelda Staunton, Jamie Parker, Nicholas Parsons and Dame Esther Rantzen. And to the many others who’ve since got in touch to wish us luck. I also want to say thanks to our corporate supporters, without whom this project would not be possible. My aim has always been to put on the...Read More »
With just less than one week left to raise the funds for our proposed birthday gala marking Sondheim’s 85th birthday, we’re proud to share with you some more of the high-profile supports lending their name to the campaign.
They include Imelda Staunton, Jamie Parker, Jenna Russell, Nicholas Parsons, Gareth Valentine, Bill Deamer, Dame Esther Rantzen, Anne Reid, Tim Flavin, Liz Robertson, Michael Ball, Daniel Evans Julia McKenzie and many more. See more details here.
Please join them by pledging your support and booking your ticket now via our Kickstarter page: www.kickstarter.com/projects/281141563/sondheim-85th-birthday-gala-at-theatre-royal-drury/
...Read More »
A fascinating and utterly fantastic new mash-up video of Stephen Sondheim and James Weidman’s seminal 1976 musical Pacific Overtures.
An awe-inspiring new music video featuring 12 minutes of Sondheim’s score set against riveting footage depicting an illustrious and inventive visual re-telling of the central story of the musical which depicts the Westernization of Japan by Commodore Perry.
Th video was created by Ed Cachianes and is officially described as “A condensed interpretation of the masterful Sondheim/Weidman musical theater piece.”
Famed theatre historian and critic Frank Rich commented on the video earlier today, posting it to Facebook and sharing, “Is it possible to capture the very essence of Sondheim and Weidman’s “Pacific Overtures” in a 12-minute film? Yes, if it’s as brilliant as this mashup by Ed Cachianes. A must-see for any Sondheim fan for sure (and not previously seen).”Read More »
A number of online reviews have covered the 2015 Stephen Sondheim Student Performer of the Year Competition including LondonTheatre1.com who concluded
“As the awards were presented, with the finalists and judges all onstage together, it struck me what a privilege it was to be in a room with all of these remarkable people at one time. A thrilling afternoon of the finest young singers and new writers around, all that is left now is to patiently wait for them to explode onto London’s stages with their talents.”Read More »
Thursday 4 June 2015
National Concert Hall – Dublin
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
John Wilson, conductor
A terrific line-up of soloists joins the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and its Principal Conductor John Wilson for this salute to Stephen Sondheim in his 85th year. Kim Criswell, Ben Davis, Damian Humbley and Jenna Russell celebrate this master, the creator of countless startling, honest, dazzling, witty, heartbreaking songs.
In an exciting world first, the concert will feature two numbers from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum being played in their original orchestrations by Irwin Kostal and Sid Ramin for the first time since the first Broadway run in 1962-4. The orchestrations for ‘Love, I Hear’ and ‘Free’ were presumed lost but the original manuscripts were in an archive at Columbia University and John Wilson has prepared new performing materials from them.
The singers have serious credentials...Read More »
There will be a Sondheim Cabaret on the 17th August at Cadogan Hall, as part of the Proms season, to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 85th Birthday. John Wilson, who is a judge at this year’s SSSSPOTY, will be conducting his orchestra at a Prom at the Royal Albert Hall on the 16th November.
Proms Chamber Music 5: A Sondheim Cabaret
Monday 17 August 2015 – 1:00 PM Cadogan Hall
- Siân Philips vocalist
- Kitty Whately mezzo-soprano, New Generation Artist
- Jamie Parker vocalist
- Richard Sisson piano
Stephen Sondheim is one of the greats of musical theatre – legendary for the sharp wit of his lyrics and his darkly distinctive scores for musicals including Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods and Company. We celebrate his 85th birthday with a musical trawl through the very best of Sondheim’s back catalogue. Formerly the piano-playing half of cabaret duo Kit and the Widow, Richard Sisson joins Kitty Whately, Siân Phillips and Jamie Parker to bring a touch of...Read More »
The heats for the 9th Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition (SSSSPOTY) were held on 15th March at the Royal Academy of Music. Some 72 students auditioned for the judges Ed Seckerson and Stephen Ridley, who had a really difficult job selecting the finalists. Accompaniment was provided by Jan Winstone apart from those students who brought their own pianists.
Many colleges ran their own internal Sondheim competitions to decide who was going to represent them at the heats and once again the standard was very high.
The finalists are:
|Leah Barbara West||Arts Education Schools|
|Ewan Black||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
|Erin Doherty||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
|Grant McConvey||Guildford School of Acting|
|Nick Shirm||Guildhall School of Music & Drama|
|Emily Onsloe||Guildhall School of Music & Drama|
|Natalie Thorn||PPA (Performance Preparation Academy|
|Charlotte Vaughan||Royal...Read More »|
Betty Buckley, Lorna Luft, Charlotte Page, Peter Polycarpou, Amy Ellen Richardson and Jos Slovick complete the cast of Follies in Concert, with The City of London Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 28 April 2015, alongside ensemble members Sarah Bakker, CJ Field, Jennifer Davison, Emily Warner, Lucy James and Luke Fetherstone.
They join the previously announced Christine Baranski, playing Phyllis Stone (Into the Woods, The Good Wife, Mamma Mia!), Alistair Brammer, playing Young Ben (Miss Saigon, War Horse, Les Misérables), Anita Dobson, playing Stella Deems (EastEnders, Chicago), Alexander Hanson, playing Ben Stone (Stephen Ward the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Little Night Music), Anita Harris, playing Emilie Whitman (Carry On Doctor and Follow That Camel, Cats), Ruthie Henshall, playing Sally Plummer (original Roxy in Chicago, Les Misérables), Roy Hudd, playing Theodore Whitman (Fagan in Oliver!, Coronation Street, Good Old Days) Laura Pitt-Pulford, playing Young Phyllis (The Sound of...Read More »
The Guardian crossword No 26,525 set by Arachne today has special instructions: In honour of an 85th birthday.
Competition entries for the crossword must be received by the first post on the Friday after the puzzle appears. The first five correct entries drawn will win a copy of Guardian Style and Secrets of the Setters. Completed Prize crosswords should be printed out and sent to: The Guardian Crossword, PO Box 6603, Birmingham, B26 3PR or fax to 0121 742 1313.
A link to the Guardian website can be found hereRead More »
Article in The Guardian on the much-praised local show attended by Stephen Sondheim which will premiere in Cameron Mackintosh venue after original shop closes for refurbishment
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/mar/11/sweeney-todd-transfers-tooting-pie-shop-west-end...Read More »
Mark Shenton interviews Imelda Staunton for The Stage as she prepares to take on the role of Mama Rose in the transfer of Gypsy from the Chichester Festival Theatre to the Savoy Theatre in West End from 28th March.
Read the interview on The Stage website here....Read More »
Congratulations to the cast and creatives of Twickenham Theatre on winning the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off West End Production for Sweeney Todd.
The production starred David Bedella and Sarah Ingram and was directed by Derek Anderson, MD Benjamin Holder.
...Read More »
NOMINEES FOR THE ANNUAL MAKE-UP ARTISTS AND HAIR STYLISTS GUILD AWARD
Winners will be revealed during the Annual MUAHS Guild Awards ceremony to be held Feb. 14 at Paramount Studios.
FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS) — BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER MAKE-UP
Into the Woods
Make-Up Artist: Peter Swords King
FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS) — BEST SPECIAL MAKE-UP EFFECTS
Into the Woods (Meryl Streep Witch Prosthetics)
Make-Up Artists: J. Roy Helland (Personal) and Matthew Smith (Prosthetics)
FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS) — BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER HAIR STYLING
Into the Woods
Hair Stylists: Peter Swords King and J. Roy Helland (personal)...Read More »
An old pie and mash shop is to be meticulously recreated in the heart of the West End to host London’s first pop-up musical.
The replica will give a new home to a hit production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd while its original venue, the 107-year-old Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting, is refurbished.
Theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh has offered rival producer Rachel Edwards the unused bar space between two of his Shaftesbury Avenue venues to house her show after it was recommended to him by Sondheim.
Sir Cameron, 68, said: “It will be London’s first pop-up musical. Stephen’s an old friend of mine and he mentioned he had been at the last night of it and how wonderful it was. It was unlike any other production and God knows how many he has seen.”
When he rang Ms Edwards — who puts on plays under the name Tooting Arts Club —...Read More »
This year’s Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition (the ninth), known as SSSSPOTY, will take place on the afternoon of Sunday May 17th.
As always, the competition is in two parts: the initial heat will be held on Sunday March 15th at the Royal Academy of Music, in private; then the competition final will take place at 3pm on Sunday May 17th in front of a panel of judges from the industry and an audience of industry professionals and the public.
Tickets are not yet on sale. Watch this space for more details.
Invitations have been sent out to over 120 colleges for them to propose singers for the heats. At the heats students will each be asked to sing one song written by Stephen Sondheim. From there, twelve finalists plus two standby performers will be chosen and they will be asked to prepare and to perform one Sondheim piece...Read More »
Follies in Concert is coming to the Royal Albert Hall on 28 April to mark Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday.
Craig Revel Horwood will direct a cast including Christine Baranski (Into The Woods, The Good Wife, Mamma Mia), Ruthie Henshall (Chicago, Les Miserables), Anita Dobson (EastEnders, Chicago), Anita Harris (Carry On films, Cats), Roy Hudd (Oliver!, Coronation Street) and chart-topping tenor Russell Watson.
The show, which is choreographed by Andrew Wright and supported by the City of London Philharmonic Orchestra, will play a matinee and evening performance.
According to press material: “With a wealth of well-known songs, including ‘Losing My Mind’, ‘Broadway Baby’ and ‘I’m Still Here’, this iconic and much-loved show is being performed in celebration of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday this year.”
Tickets for Follies in Concert are on sale now through the Royal Albert Hall website.
...Read More »
Tim McArthur – actor , singer, presenter, director, dancing nun and panto dame – is delighted to be releasing his debut album, Don’t Be Anything Less.
Born in Guisborough in Northeast England in 1975, Tim originally wanted to be a bus driver. The turning point in his life came at the age of 13, when Tim was cast in an amateur dramatics production of Oliver. There was no looking back in the rear-view mirror as London’s theatrical scene beckoned…
Don’t Be Anything Less
The Society has tickets to a special screening of Into the Woods followed by a Q+A with ROB MARSHALL Director, JOHN DELUCA Producer, COLLEEN ATWOOD Costume designer, JAMES CORDEN
Doors at 6:45 for a 7:15pm film at Odeon West End. Tickets are available to members from the Society Administrator....Read More »
The History Boys star Jamie Parker has been announced as the latest addition to the cast of a 40th anniversary concert production of A Little Night Music next year.
The one-off concert, on 26 January 2015, will be held at the Palace Theatre and features Anne Reid as Madame Armfeldt, Janie Dee as Desiree Armfeldt, David Birrell as Fredrik Egerman and Joanna Riding as Countess Charlotte.
Parker – whose credits include Sky in Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hal in Proof (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Scripps in The History Boys (Broadway, National Theatre and film) – replaces the previously announced Simon Bailey in the role of Count Carl Magnus in the performance of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical.
The evening will be directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together, The Elaine Paige Show) and choreographed by WhatsOnStage Award-winner Andrew Wright (Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls).
Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film...Read More »
Anyone fortune enough to catch All Star Productions incredible version of Into The Woods at Ye Olde Rose and Crown theatre in Walthamstow will not be surprised to learn that Hugh O’Donnell has been nominated for an award for his portrayal of Jack. O’Donnell, a graduate of the London School of Musical Theatre (LSMT) who made his professional stage debut in the show, was shortlisted for Best Supporting Male in the 2014 Offies aka the Off West End Theatre Awards joining, among others, Ian Mowat for his role as the Beadle in the Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd at Harrington’s Pie Shop . Sweeney director Bill Buckhurst is also nominated, and the show itself shortlisted for Best Musical Production. Good luck to all nominees. The results are announced in Spring 2015....Read More »
Following huge demand for tickets for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, additional seats have just been released. Starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, tickets for this acclaimed staging are sure to sell quickly, so book now to avoid disappointment.
Stephen Sondheim’s gloriously gruesome musical comes to the London Coliseum having played to sold out audiences in New York earlier this year. Today we announced that Olivier Award-winner Philip Quast will join the cast, reprising his role as Judge Turpin alongide Emma Thompson as Mrs Lovett and Bryn Terfel as Sweeney Todd.
Additional £10 Balcony seats are now available for all performances, with limited ticket availability across the remainder of the house. Book here
Watch a clip from the show and find out what Emma Thompson thinks is the enduring appeal of Sondheim’s musical in this exclusive video...Read More »
Veteran performer Mark Turnbull returns to Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre following his acclaimed performance as Mr. Biggley in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying with his new solo show featuring the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim with Aaron Clingham (Musical Director/ Arrangements).
Mark’s extensive performance credits include Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at The Palace Theatre, Frank’n’furter in The Rocky Horror Show (Piccadilly Theatre). On tour in the UK and abroad, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, Che in Evita and Billy Flynn in Chicago. Recent Off West End Credits include Georges in Marguerite and Sir Danvers Carew in Morphic Graffiti’s acclaimed production of Jeckyll and Hyde.
Aaron is an Offie and Broadway World Award nominated Musical Director who as Musical Director and Orchestrator just completed All Star Productions acclaimed run of Into The Woods. He also wrote Orchestrations and...Read More »
Following on from Disney’s teaser trailer for the upcoming Into The Woods movie, a longer behind-the-scenes featurette has been released… this time featuring the vocal talents of Meryl Streep and others in the cast. There is now no doubt – for those not already in the know – that this is a musical! “It’s not just a musical, it’s not just a comedy, it’s not just a drama,” says director Rob Marshall. “It’s all of those things interwoven.”
Sondheim is also featured in the four-minute clip. “We were lucky to get the right people for the right roles,” he says, adding, “It’s a large orchestra and it sounds great. And when it’s in a theatre, it’s going to sound pretty lush and spectacular.”
The Sondheim-Lapine favourite opens in the US on Christmas Day 2014 and in the UK on 9 January...Read More »
Broadway World Scoop
Confirming previously reported rumors, the new project will be a collaboration between Sondheim and contemporary American playwright David Ives. The project, whose title was not announced, will be based on two classic films by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel. The two separate films will be the basis for one complete story which the characters will exist in seamlessly. The first half will be based on The 1972 film “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and the second half will be based on the 1962 film “The Exterminating Angel.”
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The narrative concerns a group of upper middle class people attempting – despite continual interruptions...Read More »
The concert, on 26 January 2015, will be held at the Palace Theatre and feature Anne Reid as Madame Armfeldt, Janie Dee as Desiree Armfeldt, David Birrell as Fredrik Egerman, Joanna Riding as Countess Charlotte and Simon Bailey as Count Carl-Magnus. Billed as a “spectacular concert performance”, the evening will be directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together, The Elaine Paige Show) and choreographed by Andrew Wright (Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls).
© Dan Wooller