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Colleges and Sondheim 
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Post Colleges and Sondheim
Is there any popular Sondheim musicals that many colleges choose to do? What Sondheim musicals have you seen colleges do? Is there any Sondheim musical that a college couldn't do because of complexity or content?

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:59 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
I've seen a horrible production of SWEENEY TODD performed by what I guess is the musical society of the University of Sydney.

I've seen an amazing production of ASSASSINS at NIDA (it's a famous dramatic school in Sydney with such alumni as Toni Collette, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving). I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at a musical before. Unfortunately, the rest of the audience didn't find it nearly as funny as I did (I'm not sure if it's because as Australians collectively we aren't aware of the historical figures, or if it came across as just plain weird.)


Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:29 am
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
My college did "Into the Woods" last year. I didn't see it, but prior to the production, they had "graffiti walls" outside that people could write stuff on that they'd use as part of the set. Apparently had a sort of urban theme.

I guess you could call it "Into da Hood."


Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:26 am
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
I've seen Into the Woods at all three junior colleges and the university in the area. Sweeney Todd was done by one of the junior colleges as well.


Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:15 am
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
It's what I had thought. Into the Woods gets most exposure in high schools and colleges and Sweeney Todd gets some. Do any colleges do any of the lesser known Sondheim musicals? I think what it comes down to in high school and college theatre is directors tend to direct shows that are more classic shows to draw in the older adult audience and the students will come to see their friends perform along with family as well. It's a good marketing strategy and to get their money's worth. On the flip side of that, there's great shows that are not well known that are simply not performed because they would receive a low audience attendance. I believe that theatre is essentially about informing an audience about life or society and making them think about what they saw and possibly changing the way they live based on their new perspective. Theatre shouldn't just be a place where all the popular and classic shows are done. I think a balance is necessary for a theatre company to be successful. Go out a limb sometimes with shows that are out of the ordinary then gain money back from a more well known show the next year. That's what I hope to do when I direct musical productions. Giving the audience more of a variety of different theatre styles and demographic of shows.

I think it would be an honor to be a part of a Sondheim show no matter what it is. We have a fairly new Theatre Department Professor who's been at the college for three years now. He's directed The Music Man, Beauty and the Beast, and will be directing Guys and Dolls this spring. You can tell that he would like to do more of true life plays and musicals but our college is funded by many old people who are very conservative in their ways. He got some heat for choosing Picnic by William Inge as our fall play. With that knowledge, is there any of Sondheim's musiclas that would be not as worldly and dark? My college did perform Into the Woods in 2002. Someone thought of Sunday in the Park with George when we were talking about the topic. Would that musical fit into this situation better than other Sondheim musicals? Sweeney Todd would not ever be excepted if my college put it on. It's hard because the students and Theatre Department Professor would like to do more dark, real life plays and musicals yet we're tied to the older conservative people who fund the Theatre and Arts programs.

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Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:40 am
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
Just for the discussion of the frequency at which colleges perform Sondheim's shows...

I've seen Sweeney at UNCG and Elon University, both great productions, and in February I will also see it at Central Piedmont Community College. I've seen Into the Woods at Greensboro College, which was a wonderful show as well. It can definitely be handled.

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Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:42 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
I think my college did Merrily a few years ago.


Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:27 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
Into the Woods is definitely doable. My high school did it my sophomore year. It was a good show but it was the lowest selling in tickets of my four years of high school because of content and how well known it was. I had never heard of Into the Woods or Sondheim before that time in my life. My college did it in 2002 but is it too soon to do it again? I think my Theatre Department Professor would be thrilled if he got the chance to direct Into the Woods. He has a Into the Woods Original Broadway Cast Poster hanging up in his office. It has a better chance of being done again soon because the Theatre Department Professor didn't direct the production of Into the Woods the first time.

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Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:34 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
My college did ItW two seasons ago and it rocked.

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Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
I saw a college production of ITW last night that is definitely in the top five (if not top three) musical productions I've ever seen. The direction was masterful and the cast sublime. Their voices were just amazing. The Mysterious Man/Narrator role was played by a senior whose favorite show was ITW. Pretty neat.

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Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:47 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
The Musical Theatre School Bårdar in Norway has done Company and Assassins. I think they have done others as well, but these are the ones I recall.

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Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Colleges and Sondheim
Sunday in the Park with George is rarely done outside of professional productions for a couple of reasons. First, Sondheim tailored it to work for the two original stars - Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. Patinkin is a high tenor and Peters is a low alto - to that combination makes the score difficult from the get-go.

The other issue with doing it is that you need an incredible set-design and costumes to pull it off - you essentially have to emulate one of the most famous and complex paintings in all of history, which is no small feat.


Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:05 pm
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