TV alert: Sondheim tonight

February 20, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Today I am PBS’ biggest fan.

That’s because tonight, the long-running series “Great Performances” is premiering “Company,” a taped-from-the-stage production of the George Firth/Stephen Sondheim musical.

In case you are unfamiliar, “Company” is a landmark musical from 1970 that bypassed traditional story structure to focus on character rather than plot. It concerns a bachelor, Bobby, celebrating his 35th birthday in the company of his married friends. His ambivalence toward marriage is the driving force of the show, which contains terrific songs including “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” and “Another Hundred People.” To hear Sondheim discuss the development of the "Company," click here.

The production taped for this broadcast is the recent Broadway revival, which starred Raul Esparza.

The broadcast is far from unique for PBS. In fact, just about everything Sondheim has written in the past few decades has found its way to PBS and, eventually, to video and DVD. All have been incredibly well produced, capturing the spirit of the stage experience without sacrificing viewing pleasure.

Many of them are available in the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library’s collection, so if you enjoy tonight’s broadcast, let me recommend:

-- “Into the Woods.” Sondheim’s twist on fairy tales ends Act One with happily ever after. Act Two explores what happens when the characters have to deal with the ramifications of their actions.

-- “Sunday in the Park with George.” Critics and Sondheim fans are split about whether the second act is really necessary, but judge for yourself in this Mandy Patinkin/Bernadette Peters musical about, as one of its songs says, “Children and Art.”

-- “Sweeney Todd.” Before Misters Burton and Depp got their bloody hands on the show, PBS aired one of the best direct-from-the-stage productions, featuring George Hearn and original star Angela Lansbury.

-- “Passion.” This intimate musical actually plays better on screen than it did on stage. It tells of a disturbing love triangle involving a soldier, his married lover, and a sickly, unattractive woman obsessed with him.

-- “Follies in Concert.” While the original production of this show—considered by many to feature Sondheim’s richest music—was not taped, a Lincoln Center star-studded celebration of the music was, and is the subject of this part-concert film/part-documentary.

-- “Original Cast Album—Company.” Legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (“Monterey Pop,” “Don’t Look Back”) directed this fascinating behind-the-scenes, warts-and-all look at the making of a Broadway cast recording.

Your thoughts?
  • Lou,

    I would just add that tonight's presentation of The Company begins at 9 pm on WFYI Public Television.
  • Thanks, Lori
  • Thanks, Lou, for all of these suggestions! They all sound good. Yay, PBS! Yay, public libraries!

  • I saw the program last night. Phenomenal. Company is a weird musical as musicals go anyway, and they did a really good job of staging. Other productions I have seen just look awkward, but this one was appropriately stylized.

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.