Company was the "coming out" of Stephen Sondheim as a composer to be reckoned with. In this episode Eric Matthew Richardson returns to talk about the 1970s, minimalism, and why a show that shouldn't work absolutely does.
Phone rings, door chimes, etc. This coming Wednesday (December 11) the new season about Company will debut! Here's a sneak peak of what to expect.
Is it possible for Charles and Ella to escape the department store and make a life with each other in this mixed up world we live in? Kyle invites on Erik Stadnik to discuss that further and go in-depth with the last two songs of Evening Primrose.
Evening Primrose was an episode of Stage 67. It was a collaboration between Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman years before Follies debuted. From it came four songs, a few of which are among the best of Sondheim's career.
So much talent and yet what was produced seems so bland. In this final episode of the Do I Hear a Waltz? mini-season, we go through a quick history of the musical, a few of the songs, and then try to put this show into context. Also, where's the T?
Do I Hear a Waltz? was actually the third time that Arthur Laurents adapted his original story. It started as a play, became a movie, and then was musicalized. Were any worthwhile?
A short history of Richard Rodgers with speculation about what he and Sondheim were feeling before they started their only collaboration. Part 1 of the three episode mini-series on Do I Hear a Waltz features William C. White and Layan Elwazani along with some old audio clips and lots of great music.
The new season of Putting It Together debuts on October 30th! This will be different from previous episodes, as we take a look at Do I Hear a Waltz in a three episode miniseries. It will explore the history, the problems, but most importantly the music.
With So Little To Be Sure Of – Anyone Can Whistle (with Karen and Elizabeth Unland of That's a Thing?!)
It's a weird way to end a show, but then again with Anyone Can Whistle everything has been a bit odd. Karen Unland and her daughter Elizabeth (from the podcast That's a Thing?!) join the show to discuss With So Little To Be Sure Of. They also talk about the difficulty with love songs, whether this song is inconsistent with the characters singing it, and they try to guess how many Tony Award nominations the show received.
The Cookie Chase / There's Always a Woman – Anyone Can Whistle (with Tim Kov & Anna Hulkower of My Little Tonys)
This episode starts with an extended ballet sequence that leads directly into a song that was eventually cut. Tim Kov and Anna Hulkower, from My Little Tonys, join the discussion and reveal secret Sondheim facts while deciding on whether the cut song should have stayed and whether the dance should have left.
Fay has been holding out for a hero the entire show, but now she realizes it needs to be her that's the hero. Local actor Riley Galarneau joins Kyle to discuss character motivation, being pushed to do uncomfortable things, and 80s power ballads.
Sometimes you got to to lean on yourself. Kyle talks with himself about a song where people say they can rely on each other. But could they be just as likely to stab each other in the back? The answer is yes.
Everybody Says Don't may seem like another song that fits into the theme of "be yourself no matter what the world says." But guest Will C. White discusses with Kyle why you shouldn't overlook this part of Anyone Can Whistle. Plus, does Ira Gershwin suck?
There's a Parade in Town is a song that was written because Angela Lansbury demanded it. Sometimes it can be hard to think about Angela Lansbury as a diva, especially if you've seen interviews with her and can see how gracious she normally is. In this episode Jonathan Chisolm helps Kyle to square those two sides of her personality.
Listeners called and wrote in questions for Kyle to answer about Broadway, Sondheim, and the podcast itself. This is a special episode that celebrate the last 50 episodes and (hopefully) gets you excited for the next 50.
Is whistling easy, or is it hard? Darby Turnbull returns to the podcast to discuss the song Anyone Can Whistle. In the conversation truths are revealed, lessons are learned, and gay themes are discovered.
Kyle's ability to do a French accent isn't very good. But this song, Come Play Wiz Me, is a fascinating example of pastiche. It's a musical style in which Stephen Sondheim is well known for. Eric Matthew Richardson returns to offer his expertise on that, plus gives a bunch of references ranging from Shakespeare to Monty Python.
Simple is a long song. And, as it turns out, not so simple. This was the first time where Sondheim combined music, speaking, multiple characters, and multiple melodies into one song. David and Kyle try to break it apart and figure out what works and what doesn't.
Justin Guarini has acted and sang all over the world. One of his most cherished performances was as Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company, at the Bucks County Playhouse. He discusses that show, theatre in general, and reveals the advice he'd give to young actors.
There Won't Be Trumpets was cut from the show but still made it onto the cast album. It grew in popularity from there and now appears anytime Anyone Can Whistle is revived. Did it deserve to be cut? Suzanna and Kyle discuss that and how Fay may be the hero she wants somebody else to be.
Miracle Song can be looked at as a satirical takedown of religion. There are certainly gospel elements to the music and blatant Christian imagery. Chrstine Chen returns to talk to Kyle about this and whether this should have been the opening number.
Me And My Town – Anyone Can Whistle (with Madeline Botteri and Joel DeCandio of The Sondheim Project)
The failure of Anyone Can Whistle is legendary. It closed after 9 performances. Madeline Botteri and Joel DeCandio, of The Sondheim Project, join Kyle in discussing how the first song of the show helps (and doesn't help) set the stage for what's to come.
The trailer for the upcoming season on the troubled Broadway show Anyone Can Whistle.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) – Film Review (with Janet and Lucia of Repodcasting)
Kyle invites on Janet and Lucia of Repodcasting to discuss the film version of Forum, and figure out who would star in it if it were remade today.
Federico Tedeschi returns to wrap up our season on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. We discuss the weirdness of the Funeral Sequence, the appropriate way the Finale ends, and then have the return of the game How Many Tonys Was This Show Nominated For?
Philia's only solo song is one that shows how clueless she is about her whole situation. It might be a song that Sondheim fans disregard, but there are a few things worthy of consideration. Paul Matwychuk also discusses with Kyle about whether there might be a way for Philia to be portrayed differently, and whether the show should ever be revived.
The character of Domina is usually considered a shrewish old woman who wrecks the fun for all the other characters. But perhaps there is more to her than that two dimensional depiction. Zina Lee joins Kyle to discuss her song, the treatment of women in the show, and whether gender swapping should be encouraged in the modern theatre.
Miles Gloriosus is a brutish man who would be called "problematic" in our modern times. However, is there more to him than meets the eye? Christine Chen joins Kyle in discussing whether Miles is more bluster than barbarian. Also, at the end, there's a conversation about their favourite Sondheim show of all time.
There are no gibbering fools on this week's podcast. At least no more than usual. Elizabeth Keep joins the show for the first time to discuss the two songs I'm Calm and Impossible. Are they funny? Do you need to see the staging for them to work? Those and other fraughter things are to be expected this week.
Is Forum sexist or does it just feature sexist characters? Matt Sampson return to try and answer that questions, while also playing his piano to show how clever Sondheim can be, even with a generic list song.
Pretty Little Picture is certainly a witty song, but is it funny? William C. White returns to offer his opinions on a song that Sondheim considers one of his best. They also debate whether Zero Mostel or Nathan Lane sing it better.
The song Lovely appears twice in the show. The first is between two lovers, and the second is between two liars. Gus Gowland, UK-based musical theatre composer, joins the show to discuss which works better. Gus and Kyle try their best to be winsome while also making reference to the 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers.
Is freedom the necessary essence of democracy? Maybe or maybe not. Erik Stadnik returns to discuss how Pseudolus not only desires freedom but also desires to be looked at as a man. Pseudolus wants to be a real person. Perhaps Sondheim was trying to give characterization to caricatures.
Love is a theme in many songs. For Hero this might just be the first time. Karen Unland returns to discuss young love and whether Sondheim is able to capture it effectively. Especially considering that he didn't find love until he turned 60.
Federico Tedeschi returns to the podcast to discuss Plautus, Roman drama, and a little farce. The new season is here! A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is the first Broadway musical that Stephen Sondheim was (finally) able to write both lyrics and music. Comedy Tonight is the most famous song from the show. On this episode Federico and Kyle discuss whether it holds up, if it's actually funny, and the differences between the original and the revivals.
I force Matt Mort to watch the 1962 film Gypsy to wrap up our conversation of the musical this season. We spend a few minutes talking about the movie and then spend the rest of the episode discussing my eccentricities and existential crises.
The moment we've all been waiting for. Mama Rose comes to the realization that she's been forcing her children onto the stage not for their benefit but for hers. But, can we also feel sympathy for her? Layan Elwazani returns to delve into that question, plus play the game How Many Tonys Was This Show Nominated For?
Sometimes you just need to shake it 'til you break it. Erik Stadnik returns to discuss burlesque dancers needing a gimmick. This song is all about the visuals, so does it work to to just listen to? Listen to find out! Plus, weirdly, MMMBop is referenced.
John Mulaney and Seth Meyers co-wrote an episode of the IFC show Documentary Now! In it they parody the classic documentary about the musical Company. Kyle invites on Eric Matthew Richardson to discuss their thoughts about what worked, what didn't, and wonder if anyone is going to understand it.
Who knew a seemingly simple song could have so many different recordings? Matt Sampson calls in from Durham, North Carolina to offer his insight on a song sung by a trio of amigos. Or, could it be that it's actually Rose psychologically manipulating people to her whim? Also Kyle struggles to recall an anecdote from the seminal 1994 film The Little Rascals.
Eric Matthew Richardson is a composer who lives in Chicago. He may or may not have some radical things to say about Everything's Coming Up Roses, the song that closes Act 1 of Gypsy. Certainly he is knowledgable about the song and the history of the show. Plus, we hear some audio snippets from Arthur Laurents as he discusses not only Gypsy, but what makes a good musical director.
Adam Kostanuick returns to discuss why Tulsa's song in Gypsy may or may not be needed. Plus we delve deep into what Harris tweed is and why Kyle should consider buying a jacket made from it.
Darby Turnbull calls in from Melbourne to discuss his life as an actor and creator, plus offers insight into If Momma Was Married. What some may disregard as a fluffy song is actually a deeply layered character piece where two sister talk openly about their mother and wish for a better future.
Federico Tedeschi is an Italian student who has a deep love for Stephen Sondheim. After researching who made the music for Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd he discovered an entire body of work that he happily consumed. In this episode he discusses with Kyle how Europeans aren't as interested in musical theatre as they are with other art forms, how this song is necessary for the whole show, and how Rose may be a tragic figure.
Isaac Bernier-Doyle returns to the show to explore two (somewhat?) contentious songs. Kyle certainly discovers that he likes a certain song less and another song he begins to appreciate more. Also, what would happen if Mr. Goldstone were combined with Little Lamb as Sondheim once considered? It's a fascinating alternate universe. How do you like them egg rolls?
Trunk Songs and Cut Songs (Baby June and Her Newsboys, Dainty June and Her Farmboys, Broadway, Nice She Ain't, Smile Girls) – Gypsy
An episode where it's just Kyle! We explore many of the different "trunk songs" and a couple of the cut songs from Gypsy. This is an evolution from the Great American Songbook, which Jule Styne would have been greatly familiar with. Plus, you'll learn how Jule and Kyle share a special connection.
Nathaniel Claridad brings his experience as an actor, a director, and a (reluctant) producer to discuss Small World. This is a song in stark contrast to Mama Rose's first song, Some People. Instead of the brash chutzpah that has already been shown, this song is soft and intimate. Each actress to portray Rose has had a slightly different approach to singing it and the discussion turns to whether it works better to be sung sweetly or sensually.
Some People is a song sung by a desperate woman. Or, perhaps, it could be looked at as an ode to the entrepreneur. At any rate Karen Unland returns to the show to discuss how Rose's first song of the show informs her character and how–depending on the performer–it can change the interpretation we have of them.