Stephen Sondheim!

Discussion of musicals other than Les Misérables.
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deHavilland
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby deHavilland » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:11 pm

Add in the fact that LRRH is being played by a six year old. Awwwwwkwaaaaaaarddddddddddd.

Gervais wrote: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!!!"


... oh god, what?
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:17 pm

Spoiler warning for the folks coming in to this page.
Two old haggard hands (her mother's) rise from the earth and grab her, pulling her downward into the ground, as she lets out a final scream
[...]
As the Witch finally disappears into the ground, a lava-like substance shoots up like a volcano[...]

(It's page 105, I think, if you want to read it in more context)

...Yeah. And yeah, Red...
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Acaila » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:16 am

Lilah Crawford is confirmed as playing LRRH, so it's not going to be Sophia Grace at least
(small mercy?)
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby deHavilland » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:56 am

Now that's change I can agree on! Though I do believe Sophia Grace was legitimately cast and then they realized that that was a terrible decision as soon as they started shooting and aged up for Lilla. She was great in Annie except for that awful put-on New York accent, but at least that won't be a thing here.
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Flynn » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:59 am

Ech. The changes described just sound like they're trying to simplify the piece for the cinema instead of actually trying to find creative ways of filming (so, exactly my problem with Sweeney Todd). Esp. cutting the narrator, who could be such an inventive part of the film. And cutting "No More" is criminal, but I'm biased as that is my favorite song from the show.

deHavilland wrote: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?


To be fair, that was mostly in the terrible direction and blocking- Valjean really should've moved a lot more in that number (I wouldn't have kept him in the church, for starters). Soliloquizing can work in a film, you just have to do it creatively (which they clearly don't want to). But if Jewison, Fosse, Jewison again, and Reed can pull it off, there's no reason they can't at least try to as well.

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby deHavilland » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:12 am

When I saw the Reed link, I was so sure it was going to lead to As Long as He Needs Me, but chalk that up to another example. You do realize, however, that not one of those dates after 1975 and the current trend for movie musicals is either to go really ridiculous on the cinematography and butcher the song (Les Mis), or eliminate the "solo" element of the performance by introducing other characters into the scene, even just into the background (everything else.) (Or, in the case of Mr. Cellophane from Chicago, for example, motivate the song towards some kind of audience. Although we don't actually see the nightclub patrons that the scene sets Amos up as singing to, we can consolidate the fact that he's singing "alone" with the fact that he's singing to them.)

To have Jack and LRRH wander through the woods singing to no one in particular with nothing in the background but trees isn't really a thing that they're going for these days.
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Flynn » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:09 am

deHavilland wrote:When I saw the Reed link, I was so sure it was going to lead to As Long as He Needs Me, but chalk that up to another example.


That was actually what I wanted to use, but couldn't find a decent clip of it on YouTube, so I went with Fagin.

And I agree with your point, but just because it's the trend doesn't mean it's the best thing to do. The fact that filmmakers seem to strive to make cinematic musicals somehow more realistic and natural seems to me to be missing the point entirely, especially with a piece that takes its cues from fairy tales.

Though, actually, that brings up a point...don't like 90% of Disney musicals have the lead character sing to no one in particular about their hopes and dreams and what they want out of life?

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:01 am

http://playbill.com/news/article/192526 ... Woods-Film

Spoilers Galore!
Kevin Gallagher, a teacher who is considering a production of Into the Woods at his school, brought up concerns over the nature of the relationship between Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. "So, what is the objection?" Sondheim asked.

"Infidelity, a wolf being lascivious, that the whole connection with Red Riding Hood is sexual," Gallagher replied. "Well, you'll be happy to know that Disney had the same objections," Sondheim said.

Sondheim continued, "You will find in the movie that Rapunzel does not get killed, and the prince does not sleep with the [Baker's Wife]." He added, "You know, if I were a Disney executive I probably would say the same thing."

Another teacher asked if the song "Any Moment," which bookends the encounter between Cinderella's Prince and the Baker's Wife, had been cut. "The song is cut," Sondheim stated. Following outcry from the teachers, Sondheim added, "I'm sorry, I should say, it's probably cut."

When pressed that he should have stuck up for the inclusion of the song, Sondheim said that he and Into the Woods' Tony Award-winning book writer James Lapine did so. "But Disney said, we don't want Rapunzel to die, so we replotted it. I won't tell you what happens, but we wrote a new song to cover it," he said.


...I forgot that she died, actually.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby deHavilland » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:34 pm

The whole thing strikes me as "Sondheim and Lapine are bored." I doubt they need the money and apparently they don't need or value artistic integrity, so why not. Let Disney make a movie, concede a whole bunch of points in "compromises" that don't really benefit the Sondheim/Lapine side of the production, but hey, at least it gives you something to do for a couple of months.

It really smacks of "Sondheim just doesn't care" and I'm a little saddened by this fact. Maybe deep down inside he's devastated, but really, I don't think he gives any damns whatsoever.

From my end as a fan of the show, I continue to say what I have been saying since it was announced that Disney would be producing the ITW film: why is Disney producing the ITW film?
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:47 am

deHavilland wrote:
From my end as a fan of the show, I continue to say what I have been saying since it was announced that Disney would be producing the ITW film: why is Disney producing the ITW film?

Because Disney is Serious Now And Wants You to Know, But Not THAT Serious. Maybe?

Maybe Sondheim's at the point where he's just too old to care now. At least they filmed the stage version.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:50 pm

It was shopped around for a while, Disney was finally willing to pull the trigger, and at some point, you either say no to the enormous entertainment behemoth that is flexing serious muscle on Broadway these days, or you say yes and divert what you can.

I don't think Steve is an artist so much as a talented writer. His mindset isn't 100% commercial, but neither is he working purely for the form. He's audience-driven. More Tennyson than Whitman, really. And that conversation about the difficulty of getting certain work into the schools is a point in favour of "is a somewhat bowdlerised Into the Woods better than not encouraging kids to engage with darker material at all?" Because that's the option that's available right now, whether or not Disney is producing a film version. Disney is just the same conversation taken up a level because it's not just about the community in which one high school is based but thousands of communities with varying cultures that need a single answer.

It can hardly be what Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman did to Gregory Maguire's Wicked, now, can it? You can tell that much from these leaks, at least. And if a substantial portion of "ever after isn't particularly happy - shit happens in life and you have to work through it and make your own future over and over again" gets through, isn't that a good thing for those audiences who have never had a shot at the full musical anyway? Isn't that who the films are really for rather than the hardcore fans?

That may be what is driving Sondheim on this. He wants audiences to see his work, this opens it up to huge audiences, and the original is still there to subvert the slightly "cleaner" version that anyone with a half a brain (including Steve) knew Disney would enforce. Everyone does remember that a licensed Into the Woods Jr that cuts the entire second act exists, right? Sondheim and Lapine have allowed that for years. The film probably splits the difference.

Howard Sherman covers the context of what was yanked from the New Yorker article. My opinion on this isn't derived from Sherman (there's a Jr edition already if anyone wants to complain about bowlerization, and I've always expected the movie would suck so I don't have a heart to break when it comes down to it), but I think his discussion of the context is useful.
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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Flynn » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:51 am

deHavilland wrote:apparently they don't need or value artistic integrity, so why not.


Given that just a couple years ago Sondheim talked Arthur Laurents out of a Gypsy remake because there was no valid artistic reason to do it, I doubt that's the case.

I do get the sense of disinterest here, though- it'd be interesting to actually hear the remarks in context just to get an idea of his mood and tone here, but it definitely doesn't seem to be as positive as what he was saying back with the Sweeney Todd movie or something.

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:13 am

And now we have a statement.

You can now stop panicking.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:49 pm

This is a couple of days old... but we have a teaser trailer!

I'm liking the visual style, and that epic instrumental version of "Stay With Me." Lots of neat things for those who know the show, but I'm not sure how effective it will be at convincing newcomers to check out the film. (Then again, it's a teaser and not a full trailer.) Also, it bugs me a bit that the teaser makes no mention of the fact that the film is a musical. That seems to be the trend when Hollywood releases a musical film, at least in recent years; the only one I can think of recently that unashamedly promoted itself as a musical from the start was "Les Mis." (I love how "Jersey Boys" advertised itself as pretty much just a biopic, mentioning that it was based on a Tony-winning production but neglecting to say it was a musical.)

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Re: Stephen Sondheim!

Postby Gervais » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:09 pm

Maybe they'll do like Les Mis did and post parts of songs on YouTube. It might be get some people who like fantasy as it is right now; it's reminding me a little of Burton's Alice in Wonderland as far as looks and stuff like that, and some people I know just love stuff like that.
And I'm loving the fact that Daniel Huttlestone doesn't look like he's eight here, but that's a personal thing for me and he might still sound pretty young in the songs.
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