Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim: Don’t fucking download this album.

Originally published on Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim.

Asker ms872 Asks:
So I was just wondering if you had a download link for Follies. I can’t seem to find one. Thanks for making this awesome page, btw!! I love it!
fuckyeahstephensondheim fuckyeahstephensondheim Said:

This post might make me sound like a dick, but well, sometimes I am a dick. So let me start by saying thanks, I’m really glad you enjoy this page.

Now.

Don’t fucking download this album. Buy this album. There is no reason this album should exist. There are already too many other versions of Follies on the market. With a cast and orchestra this size, it had to have cost between $200,000 and $300,000 to produce, which means it is highly unlikely to recoup its costs in any reasonable amount of time, particularly given that the show is closing soon so there won’t be lobby sales.

If you want to illegally download an album that was produced twenty years ago, I’m not going to judge you so harshly. That’s already made its money. But this one isn’t even in stores yet.

The bottom line is that if you want albums like this to exist, you need to support them financially. That’s why I bought Follies directly from the label, so they’d get my full $16 (as opposed to the $6 or so they’d end up with after the store and distributor took a cut had I bought it through Amazon or a brick-and-mortar store). My $16 is a pledge to Tommy Krasker and the rest of PS Classics that I support the work they’re doing and want to see more of it. They are not a huge multinational corporation like Sony-BMG or Universal. Your $16 actually matters to them and will help determine whether they record more albums like this and, really, whether they continue to exist or not.

If you don’t have $16 to put towards the album right now — save up for it. We don’t all have to own everything the minute it becomes available.

If saving $16 for a leisure purchase still feels unobtainable to you — and it might, for perfectly good reasons — buddy up with your local librarian. If they don’t have the album, and you can’t get it through interlibrary loan? Most libraries have at least a small collection development budget. Tell them you’d like them to add this album to their collection.

Okay, I think that’s the end of this rant. It’s not really aimed at you, ms872. (Or may I call you Mark?) I don’t know you or anything about you. But the way cast albums — new cast albums, recorded by tiny companies on the verge of bankruptcy in tight economic times — are traded on Tumblr concerns me.

Talkin’ Broadway: Into The Woods

Originally published on Talkin’ Broadway.

Aimee Doherty (Cinderella), Miguel Cervantes (Jack), Evan Harrington (Baker) and Veronica J. Kuehn (Little Red Ridinghood)

The production is the final show of the 20th anniversary season. It’s also the company’s last hurrah in its current theatre space before moving to a brand-new, larger, state-of-the-art theatre. And the cast is a Who’s Who of Boston theatre. So to say expectations were high for the New Repertory Theatre’s production of Into The Woods might be something of an understatement. Happily, director Rick Lombardo has crafted a crowd-pleaser that’s both delightful and provocative.

Originally intended to open the company’s new theatre, Into The Woodsis a sprawling show – with seventeen cast members and an eight-piece band. Squeezing it all into the company’s tiny space is a feat all in itself. Lombardo and choreographer Kelli Edwards have compensated by utilizing every inch of space in the theatre, bringing characters into the aisles and even above the stage. The result is a more intimate Woods, where the characters’ realism trumps their fantastical elements, making the story of communal responsibility and parental obligations resonate even stronger.

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Talkin’ Broadway: Company

Originally published on Talkin’ Broadway.

Most theatre companies are considered bold and edgy when they occasionally stray from the endless succession of Shakespeare and Ibsen revivals to venture into the untested waters of new works. How ironic it is that The SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston’s company so known for “staging Boston premieres” that the phrase is part of their logo, has chosen to inaugurate their new home in the Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (say that one five times fast!) by making the bold and edgy choice of a revival! Of course, Sondheim and Furth’s Company certainly isn’t seen as often as Hamlet, but the obvious question everyone is asking is … why?

In the show’s program booklet, director Paul Daigneault suggests the time is right for Company, both because the new theatre offers physical resources necessary for the show that were previously unavailable to the SpeakEasy, and because the definition of marriage is such a hot topic in Massachusetts these days. One can’t argue with the former reason – this is certainly the largest production I’ve seen by the SpeakEasy, with a two-story set, a nine piece band, and an ensemble cast of fourteen, at times all on stage together. But does Company, which had its world premiere in Boston in 1970, really have anything to say about what constitutes a marriage in 2004?

Daigneault tries his best to say it does. Taking advantage of the minimal updating to the script and orchestrations from the 1995 Broadway and West End revivals of the show, Daigneault has chosen to set Companyfirmly in the present. Eric Levenson’s set is a slick, modern structure of chrome and light, juxtaposing a sleek, modern sensibility with a decidedly retro bachelor pad feel. While the disco-style light-up floor panels may hark back to Company‘s groovy origins, the costumes, designed by Gail Astrid Buckley and ranging from the wives bedecked in current shopping mall chic to a Marta (Sara Chase) dressed like a Britney Spears acolyte, making it clear that this Company takes place now. The actors gamely try to pass off dialogue referring to themselves “getting soused” and being “hopelessly square” as current slang, and they almost succeed. But the mere portability of the show from the 1970s to today does not instantly make it relevant to the politics of today.  Continue reading

Fynsworth Alley: Terry Trotter

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

 

Terry Trotter

Terry Trotter

TERRY TROTTER is one of Fynsworth Alley’s most prolific recording artists, mostly as the arranger and pianist of The Trotter Trio, the jazz combo famous for its Sondheim in Jazz series, which includes Passion, Sweeney Todd, Company, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, A Little Night Music, and Follies. Most recently, the trio ventured off-Broadway for their jazz rendering of The Fantasticks.

DL: Let’s start talking about how you began playing piano.

TT: My mom is a wonderful classical pianist, so when I was about four years old I started messing around with the piano to see if I had some talent. I started studying when I was four. My mom didn’t teach me, but she sat with me every day. I had to practice every day from the time I was four until I left high school. Of course, by the time I was thirteen, I wanted to practice, you couldn’t get me away from the piano. Before that, I had to do a certain amount in the morning and a certain amount in the night – I practiced a lot, every day including Christmas and New Year’s. I had a one-week vacation every year where I couldn’t physically get to a piano, but the rest of the year, I had to practice or suffer the consequences.

DL: How did you move into the jazz world?

TT: When I was about twelve, my mom could see that my interest was not as strong as it had been. I heard some jazz music, and she decided to let me go away from the classical for a while. I got really interested in the jazz music, but in classical music also. I studied jazz for about two years and then went back to classical and studied for another ten years with great teachers including Victor Aller, Joseph Levine, and Leonid Hambro who used to travel with Victor Borge as his second pianist. He was also the orchestra pianist for the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein.
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Fynsworth Alley: Dorothy Loudon: She’s Still Here

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

dorothy loudonWe often hear stars referred to in hyperbolic terms, but Dorothy Loudon is the real thing: a Broadway legend. Best known for her Tony-award winning performance as Miss Hannigan in the original cast of Annie, Dorothy’s career has spanned radio, television, cabaret, theatre, and film. Recently, Dorothy shared with me some of her showbiz memories and discussed her track on THE STEPHEN SONDHEIM ALBUM, “I’m Still Here.”

David: How did you get your start in show business?

Dorothy: After my sophomore year at Syracuse University, I left – on the advice of my drama coach – and came directly to New York City. I lived in a girls’ club and auditioned for anyone who would listen. My first job was in a tiny club called “Jimmy Ryan’s,” where I sang and accompanied myself on the piano. One night, Jackie Gleason came in with his musical conductor, Ray Bloch. I guess they were impressed, because Mr. Bloch put me on CBS radio, where I was heard nationally every Friday night. From that time on I never stopped working. That was before television. That was fifty years ago. I was a very lucky girl.

David: You were a fixture of the 1950s cabaret scene in NY. Has the cabaret scene changed much? How? What was it like back then, doing shows in the boites?

Dorothy: The cabaret scene has changed tremendously since the fifties and sixties when I was there. People “dressed up” for the occasion. Tuxedos, gowns, “the works”.

On a typical night at “The Blue Angel,” I would appear on a bill with Johnny Mathis (opening act), Jonathan Winters, Phyllis Diller, Mike (Nichols) and Elaine (May) – and Bobby Short was playing in the lounge!

Television came along and literally wiped out the supper clubs. Now, people could sit at home, turn on their sets and see all those people in their own living rooms. What’s more, they could watch in their pajamas, and there was no cover charge.

David: How did your role on the Garry Moore show come about?

Dorothy: One day I got a call from the Garry Moore Show – Gwen Verdon was to have been their guest star, but she had the flu and couldn’t make it. It was two days before the show and they were desperate. I had auditioned twice for the show — and was turned down. I jumped at the chance. In two days I learned the sketches, songs, choreography… and went on for Gwen. That night, after the show, Garry offered me a three year contract.

David: Was that your “big break”?

Dorothy: It turned out to be the biggest break of my career.  Continue reading