Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" opened on Broadway in the Spring of 1970, and tradition dictates that the cast recording is done on the first Sunday after opening night. D.A. ...
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This film from acclaimed theater director Lonny Price charts the journey of the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" in the 30-plus years since the musical debuted on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in 1981.
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Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" opened on Broadway in the Spring of 1970, and tradition dictates that the cast recording is done on the first Sunday after opening night. D.A. Pennebaker, the now-legendary documentarian, filmed the production of the original cast recording, the back and forth between Sondheim and the performers, and the dynamic of trying to record live performance. The film climaxes with Elaine Stritch's performance of "The Ladies Who Lunch". The show won 6 Tony Awards including "Best Musical" and ran for two years on Broadway.Written by
This was apparently the pilot for a documentary series on cast recordings, and it's a shame it didn't come to fruition, because it's really quite good.
I was not familiar with Sondheim beyond a handful of songs that you just hear everywhere (like Send in the Clowns) and even though this is just a few songs from the musical, it was a revelation, particularly Barcelona and Ladies Who Lunch. I'm sure the full production was excellent, but these talented people singing these brilliant songs into their microphones was wonderful as well.
The most fascinating part is the final section, in which Elaine Stritch gives a powerful performance of Lunch that was not, apparently, good enough for the album. It's a great example of the difference between a live performance and a recorded one; as a live performance it was incredible, but it drove her mad.
Well worth watching.
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