Friday, March 22, 2024

Happy Birthday, Stephen Sondheim/Old Friends

The late, great Stephen Sondheim was born on this day in 1930.

This evening we are celebrating the occasion by attending a Sondheim Trivia Night, a fundraiser for Watch This, the Melbourne-based theatre company that for almost a decade has dedicated itself to performing his works. 

I still can’t believe my good fortune that my visit to London last year coincided with Old Friends,  a star-studded musical tribute to Sondheim that was performed at the Gielgud Theatre from September 2023 to early January 2024. Put simply, it was one of the finest theatrical productions I’ve ever seen. The top photo was taken from my seat on the night of the performance we attended.

I still remember my excitement the day I met my old friend Bev Murray in the West End to book our tickets at the theatre. 

Old Friends has recently been nominated for an Olivier Award, and deservedly so. 

During my stay I was also fortunate to attend a production of Sondheim’s Follies at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the instigation of Susan Verney, another old and very dear friend. It was a dazzling production, with brilliant choreography and stunning performances which completely belied the fact that we watching a student production. 

Sending much love to all my old friends in London. Who’s like us? Damn few.

Hey, old friend

Are you okay, old friend?

What do you say, old friend?

Are we or are we unique?

Time goes by

Everything else keeps changing

You and I

We get continued next week

Most friends fade

Or they don't make the grade

New ones are quickly made

And in a pinch, sure, they'll do

But us, old friend

What’s to discuss, old friend?

Here's to us

Who's like us?

Damn few 

- Stephen Sondheim, Old Friends, from Merrily We Roll Along (1981). 

Happy Birthday, Stephen Sondheim.