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re: Sondheim's Broadway career
Posted by: Singapore/Fling 12:28 am EDT 04/10/21
In reply to: re: Sondheim's Broadway career - peter3053 11:19 pm EDT 04/09/21

I think you're talking for a lot of people when you say "the audience". This audience member finally saw the show at the Menier in 2013, and he went in expecting to see the naysayers proved wrong... and left realizing that the naysayers were right all along and that the show simply does not work. The book is shallow, the characters unlikable, and the dramatic stakes ultimately pretty slight: a rather mediocre composer decides to pursue popular success rather than the artistic success that his two friends who overestimate his talent mistakenly think him capable of.

Meh.

Yes, the score is gorgeous, but a score does not make a musical succeed, and in this case I don't think it can (and so far hasn't). Whether or not the show will be performed in two hundred years is beyond our knowledge, but what we do know is that it's one of the few Sondheim shows not to get a Broadway revival ("Saturday Night", "Anyone Can Whistle", "Passion", and "Road Show" being the others), and it's not for lack of trying.

If I had to pick the one show of his that would still be done in 200 years, I think "Into the Woods", "Sweeney Todd", and "Forum" are the best candidates; they are based on or inspired by stories that have stood the test of time, and they work very solidly as pieces of entertainment.
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