Last week, we had Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber as a Broadway Blessing. This week, we had Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton. There is only person I can think of who might outrank those two as the ultimate Broadway Blessing and that is Stephen Sondheim, the American composer and lyricist of some of the best musicals in Broadway’s history. Sondheim is famous for his contributions to turning Broadway shows in more complex, sophisticated, and deeper directions than they had been before him. His first Broadway show (as lyricist only) was West Side Story. While some of his earliest shows were lighter, such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, he later developed wonderful musicals on such topics as a Bergman film (A Little Night Music), Western imperialism in Japan (Pacific Overtures), political assassinations (Assasins), and murder and revenge (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street). While it is a hard choice, I think my favorite Sondheim musical is Into the Woods, which was inspired by Freudian interpretations of common fairy tales and explored such themes as loss of innocence, unforeseen consequences of our actions, and responsibility for ourselves and for others.
This living American legend turned 90 last month, and so Broadway is celebrating that milestone in a way that Broadway can: with a REALLY BIG SHOW. On Sunday, April 26 at 8:00 PM Eastern time, the creme de la creme of Broadway performers will be performing in a live streaming concert entitled Take Me To the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.
Take a look at the list of performers:
I thought it was a wonderful show, although it was delayed for around an hour because of technical difficulties. Still, it was a chance to see lots of wonderful artists produce their own stripped-down versions of many of Sondheim’s best works.
If you missed it, or just want or revisit it, here it is:
Here is a link to the Washington Post‘s review of the show: