“Sondheim on Sondheim,” a musical revue conceived and directed by James Lapine to honor Broadway’s force-majeure Stephen Sondheim, opened April 22 at Studio 54. Lapine previously collaborated with Sondheim on a number of musicals well known to theatergoers, such as “Sunday in the Park with George” in 1984, “Into the Woods” in 1987, and “Passion” in 1994.
The production’s ensemble cast is composed of stars Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams and Tom Wopat, along with Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Erin Mackey, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott.
This Roundabout Theatre Company production includes new arrangements for 45 of some of the best-known, best-loved Sondheim masterpieces like “Send in the Clowns” from the current Broadway revival of “A Little Night Music” and many, many others including “Company,” “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” In this production, theatergoers are even treated to a new song, “God,” showcased at the opening of the second act.
Beginning his career as a protégé of Oscar Hammerstein II, Sondheim joined forces with some of the best-known names in the business, a who’s who of the greatest on the American musical scene: Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Richard Rodgers, Harold Prince. A prolific musician and lyricist, Sondheim has won numerous Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards over the course of his 50-year career.
Previews began March 19, with an average capacity around 80 percent in this 900-seat theater. Ticket face values range from $36.50 to $126.50. Weekly receipts for “Sondheim” have been upwards of $300,000 each week, with gross ticket sales of $394,115 for the week ending April 18, according to numbers from the Broadway League.
Performances are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be special 7 p.m. curtains on May 18 through 28. The production runs 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission, and will be on-stage through June 13.
Studio 54 is located at 254 W. 54th St. between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Sondheim on Sondheim”
|Variety||Steve Suskin||“…engrossingly entertaining and thoroughly captivating.”|
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“This somewhat jittery production never quite finds a sustained tone, a natural rhythm or even a logical sense of sequence. It does, however, have a polished and likable eight-member cast.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“…[a] funny, affectionate and revealing tribute…”|
|Hollywood Reporter||Frank Scheck||“…an intriguing but misconceived hodgepodge of musical revue and video documentary.”|
|TheaterMania||David Finkel||“‘Sondheim on Sondheim’…should keep both Sondheim aficionados and new converts alike satisfyingly entertained.”|
|Los Angeles Times||Charles McNulty||“If you’re a connoisseur of the more obscure reaches of the catalog and thrill at the prospect of getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the music by the master himself, this is the show for you.”|