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How much say does Sondheim have in the casting of his revivals?

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FOAnatic
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I know he's very protective of his shows, as he should be...they're masterpieces.

But I always hear that he is at the casting for all of his revivals.

I know he liked Donna Lynne at the SWEENEY audition. I heard he really loved Tammy Blanchard for Louise in GYPSY.

I wonder what he thought of the latest ITW revival, and if he approved of Vanessa. Does he have a lot of pull when it comes to the final casting?
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Plum
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I have no idea, but if I had to guess, I would say he definitely has some influence. He's the one who has to approve the productions being put on in the first place, isn't he?
TheEnchantedHunter
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Sondheim, like all writers working under a Dramatists Guild contract, has approval on all aspects of a production, including casting.


Mayella Ewell
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MargoChanning
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He has final say on all casting for all Broadway revivals and always actively participates in the casting process. Mind you, he hates confrontation, so if he doesn't feel strongly either way about a given performer and the director or someone else does, he'll generally give his consent.

Understand this isn't unique to Sondheim. Under the Dramatist Guild contract all composers and playwrights have final approval on selection of a director, designers, casting and all script matters -- for the original and revival productions.
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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best12bars
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Margo---how involved do you think Sondheim gets with the casting of replacements?

Are there rules that apply there as well, or just for the original creative process?
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MargoChanning
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Any member of the Dramatist Guild, including Sondheim, has the power to approve or veto anyone auditioning to go on stage in any of his/her productions at any point, so he COULD certainly oversee replacements if he wanted to. Since he's had so few long runs, I'm not sure how often the issue has come up for him, but I do seem to recall he was consulted on the casting of Phylicia Rashad as the Witch in ITW (I don't think he had a strong feeling for or against her, but thought she could help box office).

For a better example (since it's a long-running show), I know that Mel Brooks, for example is very involved in the casting of each replacement Max and Leo in the PRODUCERS (and I believe Marc Shaiman is very involved as well).
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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best12bars
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Thanks, Margo. By the way... welcome back!
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FOAnatic
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Very interesting.

Would love to know some of his views on his latest revivals.
"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." - Oscar Wilde
TheEnchantedHunter
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Must be an echo in here. Yawn....


Vivian Darkbloom
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Out of curiosity, after someone (playwright/composer) in the Dramatist Guild passes on, would that be up to their estate at that point? Who has final say on casting, etc., then?
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The Distinctive Baritone
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So...I wonder what he was thinking when he approved the casting for the recent Broadway revival of "Follies"?
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Before he died, Cy Colman was very involved with the new Sweet Charity revival. He had full approval over Christina Applegate, and from what she says in interviews - he was VERY tough on her. He made her take a 2 hour singing session with him, and after that he knew she had to have the part - and gave the big "okay".
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Michael Bennett
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A quick note on this. Sondheim does indeed have strong influence in the casting of his shows in NYC. Like all composers though, he's not necssarily the best judge of his own works.

The casting of SWEENEY worked out brilliantly -- though I think they largely got lucky. There was a very small talent pool to pick from in terms of the demands of this production. And John Doyle is a very strong visionary and very outspoken about his ideas. But I know the casting of LuPone over the oft mentioned Cyndi Lauper was Sondheim's decision (or at least encouragement).

Sondheim got himself in trouble somewhat with the last FOLLIES revival. Matthew Warchus apparently wasn't strong enough to question some of Sondheim's suggestions -- and some of the more criticized casting decisions were indeed Sondheim's first choices.