This week I’m celebrating the first anniversary of the publication of The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia. Since April 2021 Sondheim fans have purchased more than 1,000 copies. I’m very grateful, and I hope you’re among them. But if not, I want to remind you that copies can be ordered for yourself (or for a friend who loves musical theater) at a significant discount via my website. Look for the coupon code at the top of the landing page, and then proceed to Rowman & Littlefield’s website. The coupon reduces the volume’s $135 list price by 30 percent, but the offer only good through the end of April 2022. A note: Several Encyclopedia entries have been updated to reflect Sondheim’s passing on Nov. 26, 2021.
I continue my podcast conversations with Stuart Brown, producer of Sounds of Broadway, a streaming radio station offering 24/7 programming of music from the Off-Broadway, Broadway and London stages. This month the fifth episode of “The Complete Stephen Sondheim” focuses on A Little Night Music. You can listen by checking out the On Broadway Podcast. In addition to our hour-long discussion of the show, you’ll hear some of the glorious melodies from the original cast recording: “Now/Soon/Later,” “Liaisons,” “A Weekend in the Country,” and — of course, “Send in the Clowns.”
Neil Patrick Harris has stepped into the role of Into the Woods’ Baker (replacing Christian Borle) in New York City Center’s Encores! production, set for May 4-15. Also in the cast are Heather Headley as the Witch, Sara Bareilles as the Baker’s Wife, Denée Benton as Cinderella, Gavin Creel as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince, and Annie Golden as Cinderella’s Mother, Grandmother and the Giant’s Wife. Interestingly, Golden originated the role of “Squeaky” Fromme in the first production of Assassins at Playwrights Horizons in 1991.
March 22 would have been Stephen Sondheim’s 92nd birthday. Across the U.S. there were dozens of tribute events. It was my pleasure to attend one a few blocks from my home in downtown Cincinnati at the historic Mercantile Library (founded in 1835). It featured students from the renowned musical theater program at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. The performance of 18 Sondheim songs was live-streamed, and a video is now available. It’s shot from a single fixed camera, and there’s nothing fancy about the two-hour recording (fast-forward to the 17-minute point where the performance begins), but the young singers are very talented. The program was assembled by pianist Ian Axness.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the works of Stephen Sondheim!