They don’t do it as often as I’d like, but I do appreciate how PBS tries to keep me in productions of Stephen Sondheim musicals. Thanks to them, I’ve seen Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury, Sunday in the Park with George with Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, Into the Woods with Peters and Joanna Gleason, a lovely production of A Little Night Music by the New York City Opera (which doesn’t seem to be available on DVD, unfortunately), and Passion, which I only made it through part of but appreciated the opportunity to decide I didn’t care for it all the same.
Tomorrow, they’re airing a filming of the recent revival of Company, staged by the brilliant John Doyle. I had the good fortune to see Doyle’s Broadway revival of Sweeney, starring Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris, and aside from being knocked to the street in crosswalk in front of Rockefeller Center by stroller people on the way back to the hotel, it was one of the finest evenings of theatre I’ve ever enjoyed. (I think Doyle should do Night Music next. A character already plays the cello on stage, and those lieder singers can certainly double up as a mini-orchestra.)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional staging of Company, so I’m really looking forward to it. In fact, I think I’ve only ever seen a college production with a cast culled mostly from the opera program, which is… not how I would have gone. In my opinion, you can get away with not being able to sing or dance in a Sondheim musical, but an inability to act is absolutely fatal.
And there’s a new staging of Sunday coming to Broadway. The director is profiled in this piece in The New York Times. Since Peters and Patankin are such distinct performers, I’ll be interested to see the response to Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell, as it will say something about how dependent the piece is on star charisma.