Frank Rich on Sondheim in New York Magazine

PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
A perfect way to start a Monday, long, informative, personal and insightful:

What unifies many of Steve’s characters and makes them so moving, I think, is not any facile resemblances to him but two primal traits many of them share with most of us: a longing to connect and a fear that time is going by too fast. There could be no more plaintive or direct Sondheim song title than “Take Me to the World,” which turns up in Evening Primrose, his 1966 television musical (from a John Collier story) about a young poet who tries to escape life’s woes by hiding out at night in a closed department store. And there could be no more representative Sondheim lyric than one sung by a pair of old flames who do reconnect, at least for a few hours, in Follies: “How much time can we hope that there will be?” What unites people as different as Georges’s mother in Sunday, Desiree in A Little Night Music, and an anonymous Japanese peasant recalling his role as a footnote to history in Pacific Overtures is their fierce desire to hold on to whatever moment of happiness they can grab before it inevitably moves out of reach.




NEW YORK MAGAZINE: 'The Sondheim Puzzle' by Frank Rich
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Updated On: 12/2/13 at 10:30 AM
broadwaybabywannabe2
Featured Actor
joined:11/9/11
I was lucky enough to see FRANK RICH and STEPHEN SONDHEIM in one of their many stage conversations at UCLA a few years back...it was enthralling to be there with these two giants...and this articlae brought back many wonderful SONDHEIM stories that he was asked to tell while on stage...while FRANK RICH was part of SONDHEIMANIA, i had the word SONDHEIMMANIAC added to the URBAN DICTIONARY because of my love for this man's work..i subscribed to HBO just for their upcoming HBO special on Dec 9th... can't wait!
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
I somehow missed the stage conversations and now I can't believe I let them go by.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
"A perfect way to start a Monday"

I can't think of a more perfectly imperfect way to start a Monday, or any other day, for that matter.

When was the last time Sondheim wrote a new show? And yet the drumbeating continues day after day after day after day after day after day.... Pa-the-tic!

We're constantly told on this board that time marches on, that we have to move with it and embrace the new. Yes, embrace the new, except where Mr. Sondheim is concerned.

What a joke!
Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/12/08
Thanks for posting, PJ!
SonofRobbieJ
Broadway Legend
joined:12/10/09
Beautiful article! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, handsome!
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
A wonderful (and actually insightful) article. Thanks for posting.
SonofRobbieJ
Broadway Legend
joined:12/10/09
My biggest take-away is the 'let's go eat where no one has been' moment towards the end. I need to start doing that!
sondheimfan2
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/05
I would have missed this if PJ had not posted it. Thank you! It made my day.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
I'm really glad you posted it too. A nice long distraction at work was just what I needed.
yes, you
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
After Eight is clearly the type of guy who likes to pull the hooks out of fish.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10

He impersonates a person better than a zombie should.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
My biggest take-away is the 'let's go eat where no one has been' moment towards the end. I need to start doing that!

Robbie--I live in Sondheim's neighborhood, a block and a half away.

Let's go bang on his door and yell, "Hey, Steve! We just ate at that new Chinese place! HAVE YOU BEEN THERE YET? Don't have the Sesame Noodles--WE ALREADY HAD THEM ALREADY! Hey, Steve! Steve! ANY SPARE RIB THAT WE CAN SPARE WE'D BE GLAD TO SHARE!"

I think he'd think that was real funny, don't you?

yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
jas1234
Understudy
joined:9/3/11
A wonderful love letter to Mr. Sondheim but not exactly a balanced piece, I think.
When Rich cites the unfairness of the media to Sondheim, he notes that critic John
"Lahr thought nothing of condemning the about-to-open Sweeney Todd...without seeing it or hearing it..." Isn't that what Sondheim did when he wrote his highly publicized diatribe to the New York Times about "Porgy and Bess", the Paulus-Parks production (excuse me, The Gershwins Porgy and Bess)?

Updated On: 12/2/13 at 09:58 PM
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
You miss the point. John Lahr is a professional critic.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
^^^^^ Moreover, Sondheim didn't trash the Paulus production. He took exception to her remarks (and those of her co-stars) in the New York Times. In particular, Sondheim objected to the Gershwin estate omitting Dubose Heyward's name when it was decided to add authors' names to the title. Sondheim further objected to the implication that P&G required "fixing". It wasn't necessary to see the new production to hold these opinions.
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Thanks PJ, I missed this article yesterday. It's was a great read.
jas1234
Understudy
joined:9/3/11
Reportedly Paulus and Parks felt they had been misquoted and the so-called changes that Sondheim criticized were eventually abandoned or never really considered. Just think it's odd that he would publicly criticize other artists without verifying what they had actually said or were doing. Wondered if he ever saw the production and commented on it?
NYadgal
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/04
Adding my thanks for posting this, PalJoey!

I loved reading it. And would have missed it if you hadn't posted.
Thanks for all of your wonderful contributions.
"Two drifters off to see the world... there's such a lot of world to see"
Sally Durant Plummer
Stand-by
joined:8/15/13
After 8, why is it that you feel the need to post on every single Sondheim thread just to bash him. It's not like you don't know it will be about him, you read it EXPLICITLY to make sure everyone knows that you think Sondheim destroyed musical theatre. I repect everyone's opinion, even if I don't understand it, but why do you have to force it on people who, based on the title of the thread, feel the polar opposite of you? Even if you hate Sondheim and his work, many people love him and his work has changed their lives. Without him, I wouldn't be into Musical Theatre now, and that's not something I want to think about. So, please stop forcing your opinion on others who don't agree with you.

PalJoey, thank you so much for this wonderful article, it was indeed the perfect start to a Monday Morning.
tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
That was one of the best reads I've had in awhile. Thank you so much for sharing PJ.
....but the world goes 'round
daredevil
Stand-by
joined:8/17/05
Enjoyed the article---however I am extremely puzzled by Rich's inability to understand the uniqueness of much of Merrily We Roll Along. Yes, the plot is flawed, but the second act truly captures the exuberance of the musical theater in the late fifties. And from Good Thing Going to Our Time, the music is brilliant. For some reason, even after 32 years, Rich shuts all this out. I just wonder why the chemistry between he and the show never seems to click.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
You had to have seen the original production. It was monumentally disheartening.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Scripps2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/19/08
“London is like New York, only more so,” he snapped at once. “You give the audience something really vulgar, and they’ll go for it every time.”

Lol.

And not much has changed in the last forty years!

Thanks for sharing PJ.
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
A wonderful article! Thanks very much for sharing it, PJ.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Sally Durant Plummer,

I don't feel the need to post in every Sondheim thread, and I don't. Frankly, there wouldn't be enough time in the day to do so, so numerous and incessant are they.

The subject of this thread is not "Do you like Sondheim and if not, stay away. " The subject of the thread is "Frank Rich on Sondheim in New York Magazine," and that is the subject that I addressed in my post. I said nothing about my disliking Sondheim's musicals. I commented to express--- what? --- astonishment, exasperation, disbelief -- that Frank Rich has written yet ANOTHER paean to his idol. To what purpose? Hasn't he made his feelings abundantly clear many times over? What more does he have to say at this point, and why does he feel the need to say it? And more importantly, why do we need to hear it?

As for your complaint that you already know my feelings about Sondheim's musicals, rest assured that I -- actually, all of us at Broadway World --- know the feelings of his devotees equally well. Yet that doesn't stop them from repeating them again and again, to no complaints, either. What's good for the goose......

"So, please stop forcing your opinion on others who don't agree with you."

Sally, I'm not forcing my opinions on anyone, but if you see it that way, then I can say exactly the same thing: that his devotees are forcing their opinions on me, and, moreover, they do it far more abundantly than I. Personally, I would like to forget about him entirely, but it's hard to do when one is barraged by posts, links, ads, and announcements about his work every minute of the day.

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