You might know Janis Siegel as a member of the Manhattan Transfer. But have you heard her solo Sketches of Broadway album? It’s great, with a song stack that defies standard expectations for a set of jazz takes on show tunes. (“A Woman’s Prerogative” from St. Louis Woman? Genius choice.) On the Sondheim front, in addition to this track, she also sings “Sorry/Grateful.”
Continuing my weekend obsession with Sunday in the Park with George, and my overall obsession with Jessica Molaskey, here’s her rendition of “Everybody Loves Louis” from her excellent album A Kiss To Build A Dream On.
“[Her] lyrics were often characterized by introspective ruefulness infused with self-deprecatory humor and eventual optimism…”—Stephen Sondheim on Dorothy Fields reflecting on her influence on his lyrics for the second half of “I’m Still Here” (Finishing The Hat page 221) (via dorothyfields)
“If you feel a sense of coalition,
then you never really stand alone.
If you want your work to reach fruition,
what you need’s a link with your tradition.”—"Putting it Together," Sunday in the Park With George
Latin-themed covers of showtunes never fail to please me. This is Judy Kuhn with a fantastic take on “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from her Jule Styne album, in a delightful nod to Peggy Lee’s classic Latin ala Lee.
Judy Kaye followed Patti LuPone at Mrs. Lovett in John Doyle’s production of Sweeney Todd on Broadway. This recording, from The Musicality of Sondheim, uses the more familiar Jonathan Tunick orchestrations rather than those from the Doyle production, but it gives you a nice flavor of how Kaye was in the role.
Dawn Upshaw is one of the few opera stars to produce really satisfying “crossover” albums of Broadway songs. This arrangement of “What More Do I Need?” from her album I Wish It So is a little over the top, but it sure does capture the song.
but if you enjoy this blog, go check out Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim as well. The guy who runs it has more Sondheim knowledge in the tip of his little finger than I will probably ever possess, and his posts feature amazing lesser-known/obscure stuff like this. Our content will inevitably overlap at times but think of us as two complementary Sondheim tumblrs, providing your daily dose side by side (by side?)
Wow, that really made my day! Thanks! And right back at you! If you’re following me but not Fuck Yeah Sondheim, there’s probably a whole in your life like a great black pit. Had I realized that blog existed, probably wouldn’t have started this one, but…
If I dare, It’s because I’m becoming Aware of us As a pair of us, Each accepting a share Of what’s there.
Okay, that was way dorky even for me. But the point is there - follow us both.
Actors don’t make up those words, nor do characters. So when you quote them, attribute the words to the writer.
If you take a second lesson away, it should be that the internet is full of wonderful and terrifying things, not the least of which is an endless avalanche of bad art that someone decided was camp, or kitsch, or both.
Somewhere I read that Sondheim really disliked this album because of the liberties Richard Rodney Bennett took with the harmonic structure of the songs. Still, it was the first all-Sondheim jazz album, so that should count for something. (It might have been the first all-Sondheim songbook album in any genre… but I’d have to look that up to be sure.)
"Uptown, Downtown" is one of my favorite songs from the Sondheim trunk. Of all the songs cut from Follies, it was the one cut for the worst reason. I’ll never understand why Diana Rigg wasn’t given this song for the London production instead of “Ah, But Underneath,” although I like that song too, so I’m not really complaining.
Have you memorized every pause and inflection of the original Broadway cast video of Into the Woods? You’re in luck — now you can (legally!) download a video of last summer’s Regent’s Park production from Digital Theatre.
I don’t really understand what they mean when they say the live orchestra will play along with the movie. Do we have isolated tracks of the vocals to sync against it?
I don’t know how I feel about that. Would we ever screen a classic film but have contemporary actors speak the lines instead of the originals? Why treat the musicians differently? (Anyone remember the Fantasia debacle?)
Passion…in Jazz kicked off Terry Trotter’s epic exploration of the Sondheim canon via jazz piano in collaboration with producer Bruce Kimmel. If you don’t know Terry’s work, do yourself a favor and eBay the hell out of these albums. (You might recognize him as the pianist behind the incidental music for Everybody Loves Raymond, but, well, you know…)
Sharon McNight, who you may know as the star of the Broadway sci-fi flop Starmites, sings ”I Never Do Anything Twice” from her live album Songs to Offend Almost Everyone.
This is one of those songs that has diminishing returns the more times you hear it, which is probably why in its original appearance in the film The Seven Per-Cent Solution it’s only one verse long. Still, Sharon milks it pretty hard. Which might be the content of a lost verse.
This song seems particularly appropriate for today. Happy Valentine’s Day, however you might choose to observe it.
I may be off by a day or two, but it’s been just about three months since I started posting all sorts of Sondheim stuff on Tumblr. There are almost 150 of us enjoying these now (and lots more if we count my friends who follow this via Facebook and Twitter, and the people who see things through all your generous reblogging). But many of you missed the great stuff at the beginning of this blog — Juliet Prowse dancing Lucy & Jessie! Nell Carter singing Me & My Town! So click on the link above to experience the early days of Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim. And stay tuned, there’s a lot more strange and wonderful stuff coming. And thanks for reading and liking and reblogging!
Our Time (from Merrily We Roll Along) Music/lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Performed by Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway
I so adore Liz Callaway. When I was little, she hosted a kids’ show on local television called Ready To Go. Despite being part of the target demographic, I am fairly certain the real reason I started watching it was because I knew her from the albums Follies: In Concert and A Stephen Sondheim Evening. Once I even won tickets to the circus from her during a call-in segment.
Fast-forward twenty years and I got to work with her when she was recording her album The Beat Goes On. She was just as awesome as I’d hoped she’d be. She didn’t even get weird when I gushed and told her the above story.
She’s one of my favorite interpreters of Sondheim’s music — and one of his, as well. she was the understudy for the role of Mary in the original cast of Merrily We Roll Along. Ann Morrison got some kind of laryngitis during rehearsals, so Liz sang her songs during many of the rehearsals, so it was her voice in Sondheim’s ears as he was refining the role.
This recording is from a live album of the first club act she and her sister did together. Here’s a link to the entire album.
When I heard this arrangement for the first time (in the theatre), I immediately thought “Sondheim never would have allowed them to take such liberties with the rhythms had it been a song for which he wrote the music.” [Buy the cast album.]