Films inspire Sondheim musical

stephen
Stephen Sondheim… 86 and still going strong.

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BY BILLY SUTER

ANYONE who has appreciated the musical excellence and lyrical wit of Stephen Sondheim, creator of such acclaimed musicals as Sweeney Todd, Company, A Little Night Music and Into the Woods, is sure to be delighted that a new work from the 86-year-old New Yorker is now in the pipeline.

A collaboration with David Ives, best known for writing comic one-act plays, the new show has the working title Buñuel.

It is scheduled to be directed by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello, whose credits include Wicked and the 2004 revival of Sondheim’s Assassins, according to a US report.

A possible Off-Broadway season has been mentioned in US reports, with 2018 pencilled in for a Broadway debut for the show, for which, word has it, a mini workshop was held in the Big Apple recently.

At least one workshop member (Glee star Matthew Morrison) has gone on record to label the work in progress as “challenging”. A more comprehensive workshop is reportedly planned for March.

Playbill has reported that the musical was inspired by two movies by Spanish director Luis Buñuel. Evidently the show’s first act is based on the 1972 film, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisi, and the second on 1962’s The Exterminating Angel. Both movies were set at surreal dinner parties.

The Playbill website adds: “The musical is being developed at The Public Theater – incubator of Hair, A Chorus Line and Hamilton – under the working title Buñuel. It will be Sondheim’s first new musical since his and John Weidman’s Road Show in 2008, which was also done at the Public.”

Sondheim’s many successes include writing the lyrics for the classic musicals West Side Story and Gypsy, as well as being the creator of such hits as Funny Thing Happened o the Way to the Forum, Follies and Sunday in the Park with George.

He also collected an Oscar for his song, Sooner Or Later, written for the film Dick Tracy, starring Madonna. It was one of five songs Sondheim wrote for the 1990 film.


5 thoughts on “Films inspire Sondheim musical

  1. Very interesting ….I’m totally overawed about Sweeney Todd The Musical….especially our South African production (thank you Steven Stead and cast) as well as the one featuring Angela Lansbury & George Hearn (which was recommended to me prior to seeing the SA production) THANK YOU BILL FOR ALL THIS INFO.

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