Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Dance Party: Like Eliza On The Ice

Stephen Sondheim turned 82 yesterday, so of course, he must be the source of this week's Dance Party.  It's not like he hasn't been here before.
This sequence from West Side Story turned up quite a while ago, and when Karl Malden died, I took a look at the film version of Gypsy (though the video clip attached to my entry has since been removed, gotta love YouTube). 
Turn off your cellphone when Lupone's around,
or expect consequences.
In fact, Gypsy reappeared on the Dance Party, when Arthur Laurents died. 

Into the Woods was on my mind a few years ago, during a trip to L.A., so we enjoyed several moments in the woods.  When I caught the recent revival of Follies at the Kennedy Center, on its way, as it turned out, to Broadway and beyond,
Dorothy Loudon loses her mind.
I felt a little nostalgic for the late, great Dorothy Loudon.  And a song from one of Sondheim's rare movie scores, Dick Tracy, was presented, thankfully, without Madonna's interference.

This week's clip has a bit more significance for me, too.  Not only is it one of Sondheim's most clever songs (and he is surely the cleverest lyricist ever), it comes from one of his New York musicals.  Steve has no problem placing his shows anywhere they need to be placed, but he seems to have a special affinity for New York City. 

Bernadette in Follies received
lukewarm reviews in DC. They
changed her dress in NY,
and she was a hit.
His very first full musical, Saturday Night, takes place there, as does West Side Story (of course), Follies, and large parts of Merrily We Roll Along.  Most of the second act of Sunday in the Park With George also takes place in New York.
The original Company featured a multi-leveled, abstract set,
reflecting the alienation of New York living. I can relate.
The most Manhattanish of all his works, though, is surely Company.  (I wrote a bit about the most recent Broadway revival of Company here;  it's the one where everybody carried around a tuba or something equally awkward).
You could drive a person crazy with those horns.
Company is sometimes pointed to as a prime example of the concept musical, where the idea or theme of the piece takes precedence over a traditional plot. 
Elaine Stritch took no prisoners in
the original Company.
It's certainly not a book musical, as it moves in a non-linear fashion, and it certainly is not a sung-through piece, as it contains lots of scripted scenes (by George Furth).  In one, a prospective bride goes a little nuts, with all the anxiety surrounding her.  I can sympathize.  I am going a little nuts myself, with all the anxiety surrounding me this week, perhaps that's fodder for a future entry.  For now, though, we can revel in the expert delivery of a very complicated song from Company, provided by one of the great comic losses of recent times, Madeline Kahn.