January 23, 2017

Vanessa Williams in “Sondheim on Sondheim” opening

By Roger Friedman

Stephen Sondheim has some serious mother issues. He didn’t like her, and she sure didn’t like him. At a tender age she dumped him with the neighbors–luckily, they were the Hammersteins. Oscar was a famous musical writer with Richard Rodgers. Years later, when she was receiving a pacemaker, mom wrote Stevie that he had been a mistake and an encumbrance. It’s no wonder that Sondheim, as he tells it, didn’t fall in love until he was 60. Presumably, mom was gone.

Well, all that aside, “Sondheim on Sondheim” which opened last night at Studio 54, is just great. It’s a musical revue of 80 year old Sondheim’s brilliant career as a songwriter. It’s also a live documentary– a first, I think–with the subject telling his life story in video clips from screens above a cast of singers that includes (the very hot) Vanessa Williams, Barbara Cook, and Tom Wopat. They, plus five more accomplished singers, get the cool task of performing some of Sondheim’s best and least well known numbers.

To read more go to Showbiz411.com.

THE CAST ON “SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM”

About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411.com column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Foxnews.com. Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to Showbiz411.com

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