Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Broadway

I'm not really a fan of Stephen Sondheim. He has written some good stuff (West Side Story and Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), but his later work is very much hit or miss.

This is one of his hits. The singer is Dean Jones of Disney fame. The song is "Being Alive" from Company. I loathe Company. But this performance hits a chord. There are better singers than Dean Jones (although he is a fine singer), but this is my favourite version of this song. He owns it.


Zana said...

Oooh - does that mean you don't like "Into the Woods"? I think that's my favorite Sondheim by far. 8-)

Matthew said...

You and my wife. Sheesh.


Sally adores "Into the Woods". I have low tastes in musicals. So Sondheim is a little too highbrow for me.

Zana said...

Ah, but my husband (the philosophy professor turned cabinetmaker) loves Sondheim too. But he also likes "Sunday in the Park with George," so I'm wondering if that's a Bernadette Peters thing instead. Heh. (Though he really likes Moulin Rouge as well, and that one just annoys the tar out of me!)

Matthew said...

I understand where he is coming from.

If you haven't seen or heard it yet, check out the 'Drowsy Chaperone'. Sally and I have seen it twice (once in NYC with the original cast and once here in Atlanta) and we have the soundtrack memorized.

On a serious note, part of my problem with Sondheim is that he wants to show the horror or misery of life to his audience. I already get that life can be quite miserable. What I need from a musical is an escape from ordinary life. So my preference is for musicals that have thin plots, clever word play, dancing, pretty girls, catchy tunes and lots of jokes.

Theatrically, "Guys and Dolls" pretty much nails it for me. As does "Singin' In the Rain" for movies.

Zana said...

Hmmm - I will keep my eyes open for Drowsy Chaperone! We're always looking for good suggestions... and Atlanta isn't too far away for a weekend show. (We got spoiled living near Washington DC - there were a lot more theater options there than there are in northeastern Alabama!)

Yes, I agree with you about Sondheim - he does get awfully depressing. (And maybe that's my beef with Moulin Rouge, too.) I think my key criteria for a "good musical" is similar to yours. Musicals should entertain, and give the audience a bit of escapism from the mundane. FWIW, I really like the first act of "Romance, Romance" for a good laugh - Scott Bakula played the original lead and I saw it again a few years ago at the Alabama Shakespeare Theater. (though, as with my hubby and Bernadette Peters, having Scott Bakula as the lead might've influenced my impression of it!) 8-)

But the lyrics for Into the Woods, despite its quite depressing ending, has some of the best tongue-tangler one-liners that I've ever heard. And that alone almost completely makes up for the tragic ending.

Matthew said...

Well, if you ever want to get together with another couple here in Atlanta for a musical night, let me know. Always more fun to see a play as a group!