For the master composer and lyricist’s 80th birthday, many of musical theater’s brightest stars gathered in March of 2010 to perform more than two dozen sensational numbers from Sondheim’s illustrious career, and several of these enduring songs are performed by the original Broadway cast members. David Hyde Pierce hosts this magical event with Stephen Sondheim’s longtime collaborator Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic.
I’m not sure how many of you know this, but I was a theater major/music minor in college. I love all kinds of theater – as long as its good – but musical theater is my first love. I grew up watching the old musicals with Gene Kelley, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire. To this day, I can still recite entire portions of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers by heart. (And I still think Benjamin was the cutest brother, even though he couldn’t dance a step.)
For this musical theater lover, Sondheim! The Birthday Concert was a perfect way to spend an evening. Terrific music sung by Broadway’s brightest: Joanna Gleason, Nathan Gunn, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, and man, many more.
Sondheim is one of the most versatile of musical theater composers – his songs cover an entire range of styles and emotions. The concert features music from West Side Story, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Company, and more. If you have a musical theater-lover on your Christmas list, you can stop looking – this is the perfect gift.
Sondheim! The Birthday Concert is available now on DVD.