The Tony-winning composer-lyricist reveals his latest project at the New Yorker Festival.
What is really interesting about this report is that this is a different musical collaboration with David Ives than had been previously reported. In 2012, Sondheim announced he and Ives were working on All Together Now, a new musical based on a small moment from Ives’s All in the Timing that would progress backwards a la Merrily We Roll Along.
If you’re curious about the sources for this newly announced project, you can rent The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie from YouTube’s Video on Demand service. The Exterminating Angel is part of The Criterion Collection, so Hulu+ members can stream it free from that service.
It’s interesting to note that Silvia Pinal, who played Rose in the Mexican production of Gypsy, starred in The Exterminating Angel.
What’s even more interesting, and often goes unremarked, is that this collaboration with Ives was Sondheim’s second attempt at All Together Now. The first, in 1991, had a book by Terrence McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime, among others). As McNally put it: “Steve was interested in telling the story of a relationship from the present back to the moment when the couple first met. We worked together a while, but we were both involved with so many other projects that this one fell through.”
It gets better. A full script, with concept notes by Sondheim and McNally, is archived in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The story in that version follows Arden Scott, a 30-something female sculptor, and Daniel Nevin, a slightly younger, sexually charismatic restaurateur.
You can find more details in Raymond-Jean Frontain’s 2011 article “Mutual admiration,” from Vol. 17 of the Sondheim Review.
Guess there’s something to be said for abandoning a project twice and realizing that maybe it just doesn’t want to get made? The descriptions everyone gave it, which didn’t much vary from the McNally to the Ives version, sounded like too little, too late (albeit less personal, obviously) when compared to The Last Five Years.
I didn’t remember the McNally version (although now that you point it out, I vaguely remember that they were collaborating one something that never came to pass). Thanks for fleshing out the details.