Stephen Sondheim!

Discussion of musicals other than Les Misérables.
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Rose In Misery
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Rose In Misery » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:32 pm

It is sad that there aren't that many good leading male roles in West End at the moment. I really hope there will be more Sondheim revivals because, well...*points to title of thread*. There is always opera but with that it seems to be ALL about the singing (obviously not a problem for David) and the acting doesn't seem to be as important. On the other hand, there's straight plays that require really good dramatic actors but don't have any singing involved. It's catch-22, really.

Back to the subject of Sondheim, I absolutely adored Company! I'd say it was better than both the Donmar and Broadway revival productions (judging from what I have seen of them on youtube). And I plan to get tickets for Sweeney Todd. Isn't the idea of Demon barber!Michael Ball just hilarious?
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Eppie Sue » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:20 am

Rose In Misery wrote:Back to the subject of Sondheim, I absolutely adored Company! I'd say it was better than both the Donmar and Broadway revival productions (judging from what I have seen of them on youtube).

Ooh, I forgot about that - I actually went to see that, too! Still not quite sure what to think of it. I really, really enjoyed it, but the ending lacked this certain spark of... intensity. It probably didn't help that I wasn't impressed by Rupert Young..., I know that Sondheim rather writes for actors who can sing than singers who can act and all that, but his solos were too obviously weak to just get lost in the music. I liked his Bobby towards the end, but there just not enough vulnerability to him and I didn't really understand why they all wanted to be friends with him and cared about him so much, see...? I adored the female ensemble, though, especially Cassidy Janson Katie Brayben and Michelle Bishop, and the chorus bits sounded lovely, as did the band.
Oh, and did you spot ex-Mizzer Greg Castiglioni as the most strong-voiced Paul - in particular in "Not Getting Married Today"? Former swing and first cover Thénardier and Bishop...

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Ulkis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:09 am

Oh, I wasn't saying Raoul is a giant step up, just that I don't see it as a step down. Of course you're right that after being in Passion and winning the Olivier it is, but if there's literally nothing else out there as good then it's not quite the same step down it would be if there were any other options.

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Rose In Misery » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:25 pm

Eppie Sue wrote:
Rose In Misery wrote:Ooh, I forgot about that - I actually went to see that, too! Still not quite sure what to think of it. I really, really enjoyed it, but the ending lacked this certain spark of... intensity. It probably didn't help that I wasn't impressed by Rupert Young..., I know that Sondheim rather writes for actors who can sing than singers who can act and all that, but his solos were too obviously weak to just get lost in the music. I liked his Bobby towards the end, but there just not enough vulnerability to him and I didn't really understand why they all wanted to be friends with him and cared about him so much, see...?


I didn't mind Rupert Young so much. He obviously wasn't a singer or anything, but I was surprised at how much I liked his portrayal. I got the feeling that his friends sort of put up with him because they felt a bit sorry for him. He didn't have Raul Esparza's intensity, but I quite enjoyed seeing the character played differently.


I adored the female ensemble, though, especially Cassidy Janson Katie Brayben and Michelle Bishop, and the chorus bits sounded lovely, as did the band.
Oh, and did you spot ex-Mizzer Greg Castiglioni as the most strong-voiced Paul - in particular in "Not Getting Married Today"? Former swing and first cover Thénardier and Bishop...


Cassidy's Amy and Katie's April were definitely the comic highlights for me! Not Getting Married was just perfection in terms of acting and singing. I doubted anyone could be as good as Madeline Kahn but she came pretty darn close. And Katie was EXACTLY how I imagined April! Very much a "dumb blonde" but utterly adorable.

And, yes, I did spot Greg as Paul. But then pretty much everything thing I have seen this year has at least one Les Mis Alumnus. Definitely one of the best voices, though!
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Prisoner 24653
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:20 am

Just found out today that Rob Marshall (who directed the Chicago and Nine films) has been announced as director for a film adaptation of Sondheim's Into the Woods for Disney. Hoping it goes well!
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby MSam » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:57 pm

Ugh I found out this and fell into a deep comatose state. Please, anyone but Rob Marshall! Marshall proved that his style of directing musicals was a one hit wonder with Chicago - he demolished Nine by cutting out the chorus and popping everything into 'dream sequences'. Into The Woods will NOT work as dream sequences! Oh dear.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Sat May 25, 2013 12:21 am

I'm late to this party, but Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp are in For Into the Woods. Streep is the Witch, Depp is the Wolf, and James Corden is the Baker, according to this. and this and a lot of other places to boot.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat May 25, 2013 2:00 am

Yeah, it's really disappointing to me. The Wolf/Prince doubling isn't about reducing the number of actors; it's reinforcing the predatory theme of that family. And Meryl Streep, really? There's a rumour of Jake Gyllenhaal for one of the princes.

I'm just scared. Please ignore me. Sondheim is incredibly difficult; despite how much of Sweeney Todd worked for me, it worked because of Tim Burton's direction, not because that cast could handle the score. There are way too many people with no musical background being mentioned in conjunction with the thing. (and I'm easy - I'll take "did musicals in college" as good enough.) It's not like they're about to mess up Sunday in the Park with George, which is guaranteed to leave me as weepy as the first 8 minutes of Up but on a much more personal level, so I should be able to let go, but I can't. So easy to screw up. I don't even trust them on the Narrator, as it's so meta for film but meta works in the theatre much more easily.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Sat May 25, 2013 2:08 am

I'm not entirely familiar with Into the Woods outside of CDs, I admit it, but anything with Sondheim attached to it, even as just a lyricist (I'm looking at you, West Side) is going to be hard stuff musically. I'm hoping that the most of the ones cast by this point have some music and voice teachers nearby, even the ones with musical backgrounds. Although I've thought about Depp's acting for the Wolf a little bit, and I can kind of see it. Wonder what they'll do for his costume...
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Mademoiselle Mabeuf » Thu May 30, 2013 4:16 am

How d'you think they'll do the Narrator? I'm dubious about turning Into the Woods into a film...guess I can just wait and see, though.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Acaila » Thu May 30, 2013 6:55 am

I heard Chris Pine, of Star Trek fame, has been cast as one of the Princes. No idea if he can sing or not.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:31 am

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:47 pm

Also, if anyone wants it, here's a summary if the main changes made in a leaked early draft of the script: http://pli1018.tumblr.com/post/53454096 ... the-script
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby deHavilland » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:59 pm

Oh, wow, this is from last June. I feel so behind on my Into the Woods news. Admittedly, all my commentary here takes this whole thing with a grain of salt because if the script draft is from February, then chances are they've changed it considerably from this point, and I'm assuming that the person who posted all of these facts actually did read the draft, because I just dug it up and didn't feel like it.

Reading this, at first I hit this sentence and was like, uh, excuse me? "Suffice to say I’m immensely happy with the direction they are going in and the casting so far has been great." But then I realized that the casting that most outraged me, specifically Daniel Huttlestone as Jack and Sophia Grace as LRRH, hadn't been announced by this point. But that's not to say that I wasn't already kind of annoyed with the fact that it was a thing and that as a thing it was a thing being done by Disney, so I doubt even in June the words "immensely happy" would have passed my lips.

“I Guess This Is Goodbye Old Friend” ”Maybe They’re Really Magic” “Ever After” “Act II Opening” “Agony (Reprise) and “No More” have been cut. The only cut that hurts is the latter, but it is replaced with a dialogue scene between The Baker and his father.
-Speaking of which, there is no Narrator or Mysterious Man. The Baker narrates the opening song and the father, who appears during the Witch’s Rap, reappears after “Last Midnight”


First of all, the only thing I ever felt that made Agony tolerable as a song was the fact that they turn it on its head with the reprise. Since the song takes itself so seriously the first time around, when they start singing about dwarfs in the reprise, it's actually funny because it's poking fun at itself. Losing the reprise loses this entirely. No More is kind of important to the Baker's character arc and the overall moral of the story, so I hope they at least replace that with something that fills that necessary gap. As much as I like I Guess This is Goodbye, I have to admit I'm kind of relieved that they aren't going to make Daniel Huttlestone sing it. That just feels inappropriate.

Rapunzel no longer is crushed by the Giant, she runs away from her Prince and the Witch instead.


Thanks for making a cautionary tale for adults kid-friendly, Disney.

“I Know Things Now” and “Giants in the Sky” are both sung to The Baker by Red and Jack, respectively.


I was going to say "why" because this seems like such a pointless and stupid change, but I answered my own question. Because it's weird in movies for people to sing a full song by themselves and to no one. Remember when Hugh Jackman walked up and down the same church corridor a couple times in different angles singing Valjean's Soliloquy? It was weird on camera, because in movies it's weird for people to sing to no one. But dammit, this just sounds dumb.

Many of the songs are literally interpreted through flashbacks. For example, we actually see Red in the Wolf’s stomach coming upon Granny.


Oh good, literal choreography, my favorite.

... it's funny that I have literally nothing good to say about anything. I'm such a cynical asshole when it comes to film adaptations. I hate them.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:09 pm

Yeah, I dug up the script too, mostly because I had no idea what they meant with what was going on with Last Midnight. Spoiler? According to this draft, the witch is pulled into the fiery pits by her mother's hands. Which gave me a pretty funny mental image of the witch being pulled into molten lava while screaming "MUMMY!!!"

And making a flashback of the inside of the Wolf's stomach is...well, bad because it's literal, but the inside of a stomach. (Though, this script does say it's more of a "Jonah" effect, but still.)
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