‘Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration’ Was A Musical Gift That Kept Giving

L-R Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep (screen capture)

It began with some tech problems, but when Broadway.com’s salute to legendary composer Stephen Sondheim – Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration – finally got underway it was truly a gift for musical theatre fans.

So many fantastic performances of Sondheim’s lengthy and rich catalog.

One of the highlights was easily Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald serving up a spectacular “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company as a kind of  Zoom cocktail hour. Donning white robes and pouring generous drinks, the approach was not only hilarious but solved the problem of trying to live up to Elaine Stritch’s legendary performance of the song.

In case you missed it, I’ve cued up Christine, Meryl and Audra’s brilliant performance below, but you can view the entire 2+ hour livestream below.

Other highlights include:

• Melissa Errico’s “Children and Art” (Sunday in the Park with George) was the picture of understated perfection at the 41:04 mark

• Mandy Patinkin, standing outside alone amid an enormous, empty grassy field, shared a moving a cappella “Lesson #8” (Sunday in the Park with George) at the 54:21 mark

• Laura Benanti – “I Remember” (Evening Primrose) at 1:08:28 mark

• Chip Zien, the original “Baker” (Into the Woods) was heartbreaking as he reprised his song “No More” at 1:14:06

• The event’s host, Raúl Esparza, sang a beautiful take on the event’s title song, “Take Me to the World” (Evening Primrose) at 1:50:59

• Donna Murphy’s poignant, pensive rendition of “Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music) at the 1:53:55 mark

• Bernadette Peters closing out the event with a gorgeous, a cappella take on a song she didn’t sing in Into The Woods, “No One Is Alone” at 2:11:18

Bernadette Peters (screen capture)

In truth, there are tons of terrific performances – I’m sure I’ll have missed mentioning something I loved. If you click here, you’ll find the full show with a complete breakdown of shortcuts to each individual performance.

Stay with it to the end as there’s a much fun postscript to the shindig with the song “Broadway Baby” from Follies.

The event served as a fundraiser for ASTEP – Artists Striving to End Poverty. You can donate at this link.

Livestream Event: Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

A starry line-up of Broadway favorites are toasting Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime concert event live on Broadway.com titled, ‘Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.’

As I was planning this post, I realized how much I admired Sondheim’s incredible talent, but how much his work impacted my own career in theater.

The first musical I ever appeared in was one of the greatest musicals ever written – Gypsy (lyrics by Sondheim). I earned my actor’s union card in a gorgeous production of West Side Story (lyrics by Sondheim).

Performing ‘Into The Woods’ – I’m the one hugging the cow

Over the next couple of decades, I appeared in productions of Into The Woods (score by Sondheim), more West Side Story (playing about every Jet you can think of), and more.

And the last Broadway production I appeared in was the 2001 revival of his masterpiece Follies starring Blythe Danner, Treat Williams, Judith Ivey and Gregory Harrison – a joyful experience from beginning to end.

With Sondheim backstage during the 2001 Broadway revival of ‘Follies’

So, yes, I’ll definitely be watching tonight’s event.

Hosted by Raul Esparza the Broadway-palooza will feature musical performances by:

Iain Armitage • Annaleigh Ashford • Christine Baranski • Laura Benanti • Michael Cerveris • Melissa Errico • Beanie Feldstein • Sutton Foster • Maria Friedman • Alexander Gemignani • Josh Groban • Jake Gyllenhaal • Ann Harada • Neil Patrick Harris • Austin Ku • Judy Kuhn • Linda Lavin • Katrina Lenk • Kelvin Moon Loh • Patti LuPone • Lin-Manuel Miranda • Audra McDonald • Brian Stokes Mitchell • Donna Murphy • Kelli O’Hara • Mandy Patinkin • Bernadette Peters • Ben Platt • Randy Rainbow • Lea Salonga • Stephen Schwartz • Thom Sesma • Elizabeth Stanley • Meryl Streep • Aaron Tveit • Brandon Uranowitz • Chip Zien

Directed by Paul Wontorek with musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, the event will benefit Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP).

You can watch the live stream below or at Broadway.com here  beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT.

Tune In Tonight: Broadway’s She Loves Me Via Livestream

BroadwayHD and Roundabout Theatre Company will make history tonight when the two organizations team up to present a live stream of the Tony-winning revival of She Loves Me June 30 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Visit broadwayhd.com/shelovesme to reserve a live-stream pass for $9.99. Viewers who tune in to the broadcast after 8 PM will see the show as it’s being performed live until curtain. For anyone who misses the live broadcast, the on-demand encore will be available for seven days with the $9.99 purchase.

BroadwayHD annual subscribers will also be able to view the She Loves Me recording once it is made available as part of the on-demand library. The broadcast will first need to be edited, which could take a number of weeks. Once included in the library, individual titles are available as two-day rentals for $7.99 for non-annual subscribers.

The classic musical comedy began previews February 19 at Studio 54, and will run through July 10. The revival received eight Tony nominations.

She Loves Me tells the story of two parfumerie clerks who, unbeknownst to each other, are corresponding romantically as anonymous pen pals.