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Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer 
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Post Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
What would be the ideal first Sondheim show for an actor who has never done a show by him before? And try to name a show other than Forum which would be the obvious choice.

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Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:06 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
I would think the obvious choice would be Into The Woods. It's funny, the score is simpler, and has ranging appeal in it's structure (the funny, and the serious).

A Little Night Music is also very funny, but much more bitter, which could put people off (I love the bitterness). Also, some elements get confusing (the quintet, for example).

mmoigold wrote:
i like the TV show,and i admire their mouth,talk so soomthly.

Do you even read the topics before you reply?


Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:04 am
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
Don't bother responding. My guess is that there's no person there, it's a "bot" just attempting to build up post count in order to spam at some point.

Anyway -- ITW is thematically the obvious choice, as it takes on familiar characters and situations, then gives them a bit of a twist. The music's not exactly easy, though, though it's more tonal than some of his stuff, it's still rather rhythmically challenging in places.

ALNM is musically fairly straightforward, and with all the music being in triple time, avoids one of Sondheim's most common pitfalls -- changing meter constantly and unexpectedly through songs. Probably the most challenging bit of that show is getting the dramatics tonally right. There's a definite feel that the story should have that could be easy to miss if you're not familiar with the setting.

Let's assume you don't count West Side Story as really being in his Oeuvre. Company is a maybe -- unless you're playing Bobby, your number of scenes and songs is limited, which could make for a nice introduction. Nice thing is, the last couple years, I've seen a LOT more of non-ITW/Todd Sondheim productions popping up, so you have a wider range to choose from.

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Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:21 am
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
Mungojerrie_rt- I don't see how the Quintet in ALNM is any less confusing than the Ensemble in Sweeney Todd since they fulfill much of the same purpose.

Rorgg- That's a good point about the waltz time helping us avoid Steve's 'pitfalls'. But I still think it bears mentioning that the counterpoint in "Weekend in the Country" is a huge bear for someone doing their first Sondheim show. Nobody in the show gets a free pass from that counterpoint with the possible exception of Mme. Armfeldt, Frid, and Fredrika.

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Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
I'm going to agree with Rorgg and say A Little Night Music. Having performed in ITW, and performing currently in Sweeney, the hardest Sondheim aspect is the switches in timing. The waltz in ALNM is much more predictable and consistent. Into the Woods may have less 'bitterness' and is slightly more youth-friendly, but I find the music much harder. Ever tried to sing 'Your Fault'? It's bloody hard.

But if you hadn't wanted us to name something other than Forum, I would have said that show in a heartbeat.......

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:37 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
My first Sondheim was Sunday in the Park. Honestly, if you're not playing George or Dot, the vocal part of the score isn't quite as complicated as some of his other works (with the notable exception of "Putting it Together") and the characters are so much fun to play.

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Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:35 am
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
I saw a really big-budget production of Sweeney Todd about a year ago, and looked up some clips from Into The Woods and West Side Story, and decided I just really didn't like Sondheim, for all the reasons most of his detractors don't like him.

But yesterday, I broke down and got the Broadway Revival Cast Album of Assassins and absolutely loved it. Now I'm thinking of investigating Sondheim again. I heartily recommend Assassins to anyone having doubts about Sondheim. :)


Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:24 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
3KidsOr4 wrote:
I saw a really big-budget production of Sweeney Todd about a year ago, and looked up some clips from Into The Woods and West Side Story, and decided I just really didn't like Sondheim, for all the reasons most of his detractors don't like him.


Who do you consider his detractors?

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Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
Apples2for10 wrote:
3KidsOr4 wrote:
I saw a really big-budget production of Sweeney Todd about a year ago, and looked up some clips from Into The Woods and West Side Story, and decided I just really didn't like Sondheim, for all the reasons most of his detractors don't like him.


Who do you consider his detractors?


People who say that he's pretentious, that he intentionally writes his music to be unlikable, that his target audience consists of opera majors who, at the conclusion of the performance, clap lowly and softly, and say "Why, yes, Steve! That piece WAS complicated and unlikable enough that I shan't look down my nose at it!", that he is the naked emperor whose clothes are being praised.


Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
So, a bunch of ridiculous charicaturists? Ooookay.

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:40 am
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
Full disclosure, I hated Webber with equal intensity for the opposite reasons; I still do, though I suppose there's some possibility I'll encounter a show like Assassins that similarly makes me view him in a more nuanced way.


Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Ideal show for Sondheim first-timer
My point was that statement about disliking him because his audience consists of [insert strawman here] is just ... silly because those people don't actually exist outside the imaginations of people who don't like the works for their own reasons -- which is perfectly valid -- and are trying to manufacture an object of derision to justify it.

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Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:27 am
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