THEATRICAL THROWBACK THURSDAY: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Stephen Sondheim's Epic Duet
This week, in honor of BroadwayWorld's simply spectacular star-studded charity concert celebration of the men behind the music to many of the most important and indelible musicals of the last 50 years at Monday night's THE LORD & THE MASTER: BROADWAYWORLD.COM SINGS ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER & STEPHEN SONDHEIM, we turn our attention to the sole clip of the two modern musical theatre marvels performing side by side as originally seen nearly two decades ago.
Send In The Crowds
Is there anything more enchanting, absorbing and just plain satisfying than seeing a master composer and/or lyricist perform his or her own material? More to the point, is there anything more amusing and enchanting than seeing them perform with one of their esteemed peers? In June of 1998, world renowned theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh was feted with a one of a kind evening of entertainment the likes of which we had not seen before and have not seen since, encompassing many of the most notable and memorable musical theatre performers alive in a night to remember titled HEY, MR. PRODUCER!, staged by frequent Mackintosh cohort and collaborator Bob Avian.
Among the many pleasures of the awesome affair were songs from the musicals by both the modern masters of musical theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim. Of course, Mackintosh famously produced numerous hits for Lloyd Webber, ranging from CATS to SONG & DANCE to STARLIGHT EXPRESS to the most successful entertainment of all time, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Similarly, Mackintosh had a hit early on in his producing career with the Sondheim revue SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM in the West End and on Broadway, followed up by collaborations on properties such as the vastly revised new edition of FOLLIES in 1987 and the theatrical "review" PUTTING IT TOGETHER in the 1990s - first with Julie Andrews starring Off-Broadway, then with Carol Burnett leading the all-star cast on the Great White Way in 1999.
Throughout the generously well-stacked and well-stocked program were incredibly notable selections from many of these famous and familiar shows by both composers - including such classics as "Send In The Clowns", "The Music Of The Night", "Losing My Mind", "Unexpected Song", "Side By Side", "The Phantom Of The Opera", "Being Alive", "Memory" and the song from whence the title of the entire evening arose, "Broadway Baby". The performers? Judi Dench, Colm Wilkinson, Michael Ball, Bernadette Peters, Maria Friedman, Julia McKenzie, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, Elaine Paige and Julie Andrews - just to name a few. It was an affair to never, ever forget, for sure - especially for the self-confessed Broadway babies among us.
Yet, the unquestionable moment of moments in the jaw-dropping program belonged to Lloyd Webber and Sondheim themselves, as they sat together at the same baby grand piano to play a mash-up of their two most popular and iconic tunes - "Send In The Clowns" from Sondheim's A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and "The Music Of The Night" from Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, all in tribute to Mackintosh and outfitted with hilarious and touching new lyrics in his honor. In that unforgettable clash and mash of the titans, theatrical history was made and we revisit it now, today, more than 15 years later in honor of this week's sensational showcase of both theatrical gods as was seen at Joe's Pub in THE LORD & THE MASTER - which will be available for all to enjoy on CD and DVD later this year.
But, first, enjoy the Lord and the master performing a duet for the ages - and the annals of history, as well.
So, what is your absolute favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical? What about your favorite Stephen Sondheim show? Furthermore, what mash-up of their musical material would you like to hear someday in the future most of all? With scores this rich and song catalogues this well-stocked with showstoppers, the possibilities are limitless.