Research Catalog

[Interview with Stephen Sondheim : raw footage]

Title
[Interview with Stephen Sondheim : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Publication
New York, 1999.

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StatusFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2122Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT

Details

Additional Authors
  • Sondheim, Stephen
  • Kantor, Michael, 1961-
  • Squires, Buddy
  • Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
  • Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Description
1 videocassette (VHS) (95 min.) : sd., col. SP; 1/2 in.
Summary
  • Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim discusses his stage works, and his mentorship under Oscar Hammerstein II. Discussion begins with Follies, about the reunion of members of a musical revue set in a theater slated for destruction, and the origins of the song "Broadway baby"; director Harold Prince's approach to the show; the original Ziegfeld Follies and what they represented to America, the contributions of choreographer Michael Bennett, Sondheim's writing of the music as an homage to his favorite composers from the Follies period, the songs "Losing my mind," and "Rain on the roof," and some of the problems he encountered in writing the show, which underwent 11 drafts. Sondheim discusses Company, co-written with George Furth, which tells the story of five couples and their mutual friend Robert. Discussion includes its lack of plot or traditional happy ending, the song "Another hundred people," which he wrote for Pamela Myers who made her Broadway debut in the show as Marta, the genesis and meaning of the song "The ladies who lunch," performed by Elaine Stritch, the songs "You could drive a person crazy," "Marry me a little," "Happily ever after," and "Being alive," and the difficulty of writing songs to accompany Furth's book. Discussion continues with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II and his contribution to the development of the musical theater beginning with Show boat and then Oklahoma!, which broke ground in its attempts to explore characters as a play does; the pre-Show boat musicals of the 1920s, and the work of composer Jerome Kern. Sondheim discusses his relationship with Hammerstein, whom he met as a youth and who became his mentor and surrogate father. Audio only commentary begins ca. 45 min with more discussion on how scenes from Company were recombined so that Pamela Myers could perform "Another hundred people."
  • Interview resumes with discussion on Sondheim's relationship with Hammerstein; the significance of Hammerstein's work in shows like Carousel and South Pacific; Hammerstein in comparison with his songwriting partner Richard Rodgers; how Sondheim got the the job to write the lyrics for West Side story, working with composer Leonard Bernstein, Bernstein's work habits, and what he likes best about West Side story; writing the lyrics for Gypsy, with music by composer Jule Styne, including his writing of "Everything's coming up roses"; writing the score for the musical A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, which was based on an idea by Bert Shevelove, and how he came to write the opening number "Comedy tonight"; the song "Send in the the clowns," from the his musical A little night music, which became a hit recording by Judy Collins; the creation of Sweeney Todd as an homage to the music of film composer Bernard Herrmann, and the universality of the desire for revenge as embodied in the the character of Sweeney; the differences between opera and musical theater. Last three minutes of interview contains audio only discussion on the prologue to West Side story.
Alternative Title
  • Broadway, the American musical
  • Broadway: the American musical : Stephen Sondheim interview
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Documentaries and factual works.
  • Musicals.
  • Unedited footage.
Note
  • This interview is one of a group of interviews with 90 individuals used in making the documentary Broadway, the American musical. The completed production is available on NCOX 2058.
  • Credits for completed production from pbs.org: A film by Michael Kantor ; produced by Jeff Dupre, Michael Kantor and Sally Rosenthal ; written by Marc Fields, Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, and JoAnne Young ; directed by Michael Kantor.
  • Time code on frame.
  • Contains various takes, at occasional brief intervals, audio continues without sound.
Credits (note)
  • Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer (note)
  • Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Stephen Sondheim.
Event (note)
  • Videotaped at Stephen Sondheim's residence in New York, N.Y. on May 18, 1999.
Biography (note)
  • Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Call Number
NCOX 2122
OCLC
123233928
Title
[Interview with Stephen Sondheim : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Imprint
New York, 1999.
Credits
Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer
Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Stephen Sondheim.
Event
Videotaped at Stephen Sondheim's residence in New York, N.Y. on May 18, 1999.
Biography
Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Local Note
Gift of Broadway Film Project, Inc. and Thirteen/WNET, 2005.
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Added Author
Sondheim, Stephen, interviewee.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- interviewer.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- director.
Squires, Buddy, cameraman.
Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Research Call Number
NCOX 2122
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