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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?

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Someday
Featured Actor
joined:4/4/06
Featured Actor
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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?#1
Posted: 2/12/19 at 6:26pm

In preparation for Fiasco's Merrily, I decided to listen to the three Merrily recordings available on Spotify that I'd never heard. I was only familiar with the Original Cast Recording before. Some strong performances come through on both the Menier and York and recordings, but the Encores one is my favorite among them. Very solid sound, full orchestra, and everyone seems well cast to me, including Lin.

But to get to my question: has anyone noticed the similarities between Frank and Charley's song that's included in the Opening Doors sequence — "Who Wants to Live in New York? / Suddenly I Do!" — and Sondheim's own youthful composition "What More Do I Need?" from Saturday Night? Both are upbeat, comic numbers that first catalogue the faults of New York City, before resolving that the city is, in fact, liveable (in the case of What More Do I Need, it's liveable due to a love; the same idea may be at play in Who Wants to Live in New York, but it's hard to tell for certain).

Anyway, it's like Sondheim wrote a pastiche of his own, old song for that spot — maybe as a nod to his own young strivings, or just as an inside joke to himself (back in 1981, no one else really knew Saturday Night).

I'm sure someone has probably commented on this in the past. Shoot, for all I know dissertations have been written about it!  But I'm curious. What are your thoughts?

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broadwaybabywannabe2
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joined:11/9/11
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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?#2
Posted: 2/12/19 at 6:45pm

Someday said: "In preparation for Fiasco's Merrily, I decided to listen tothe three Merrily recordings available on Spotify that I'd never heard. I was only familiar with the Original Cast Recording before.Some strong performances come through on both the Menier and York and recordings, but the Encores one is my favorite among them. Very solidsound, full orchestra, and everyone seems well cast to me, including Lin.

But to get to my question: has anyone noticed the similarities between Frank and Charley's song that's included inthe Opening Doors sequence —"Who Wants to Live in New York? / Suddenly I Do!" — and Sondheim's own youthful composition "What More Do I Need?" fromSaturday Night? Both are upbeat, comic numbers that first catalogue the faults of New York City, before resolving that the city is, in fact, liveable (in the case of What More Do I Need, it's liveabledue to a love; the same idea may be at play inWho Wants to Live in New York, but it's hardto tell for certain).

Anyway, it's like Sondheim wrote a pastiche of his own, old songfor that spot — maybeas a nod to his own young strivings, or justas an inside joke tohimself (back in 1981, no one else really knew Saturday Night).

I'm sure someone has probablycommented on thisin the past. Shoot, for all I know dissertations have been written about it! But I'm curious. What are your thoughts?
"

Hasn't Sondheim said that OPENING DOORS was the most biographical song he has written up to that time?...

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Jonathan Cohen
Understudy
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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?#3
Posted: 2/12/19 at 8:21pm

Someday said: "But to get to my question: has anyone noticed the similarities between Frank and Charley's song that's included inthe Opening Doors sequence —"Who Wants to Live in New York? / Suddenly I Do!" — and Sondheim's own youthful composition "What More Do I Need?" fromSaturday Night? Both are upbeat, comic numbers that first catalogue the faults of New York City, before resolving that the city is, in fact, liveable (in the case of What More Do I Need, it's liveabledue to a love; the same idea may be at play inWho Wants to Live in New York, but it's hardto tell for certain)."

Yeah, this reminded me about a Seth Rudetsky video I recently watched deconstructing Opening Doors. At about 8:08 in the video he talks about how the song is tonally reminiscent  of "once I hated this city, now it can't get me down..." from Saturday Night. I've never heard Saturday Night so I'm not sure if it's from the song you'r referring to. 

 

Ledaero
Swing
joined:11/20/14
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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?#4
Posted: 2/15/19 at 2:21am

Yeah, good catch. He's definitely homaging to himself, which frankly he does all of the time. There are always little Easter eggs in his scores. The biggest one that always comes to mind is how he built the melody of Johanna off of the same interval in Company when Bobby sings "Joanne" in Someone Is Waiting. Also how Last Midnight reuses bits of Could I Leave You, particularly the bridge. He recycles all of the time, but often with meaning and subtle references.

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TotallyEffed
Broadway Legend
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Sondheim Self-Pastiche?#5
Posted: 2/15/19 at 9:39am
If you really want a Sondheim self-pastiche, listen to “God” from Sondheim on Sondheim.