Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Day With Sondheim and Oscar

On this day in history the television schedule will see the union of two things that I enjoy to distraction: theatre and film.

Distraction Numero Uno:
Today, at 2:00pm EST, PBS Great Performances will broadcast an encore presentation of John Doyle's revival of Sondheim's Company. I was fortunate enough to have seen Raul Esparza in his Tony-nominated Broadway turn as confirmed bachelor Bobby. His talent was unquestionable and his interpretation of the role was multi-layered and very real. However, I think I need to see the show once more to decide if, as a whole, I like it or not. This was the first time I'd seen it. And I have to say that the performers playing the instruments made it a slightly frenetic experience. When you're already trying to take in the story, the music and the adaptation, the onstage orchestra is a bit overwhelming. I think seeing it once more will tilt the scale one way or the other.

You see, I usually have love/hate reactions to Sondheim's work. I always appreciate their cleverness and musical precision but I can't say that I necessarily "respond" to all of his shows. I'm not a huge fan of the universally popular Sweeney Todd or Into The Woods but I love Assassins and Merrily We Roll Along. In fact, I was inordinately pleased to learn that a rumored revival of Merrily is getting legs in the press. I also find it interesting that the Roundabout is in talks with James Lapine to direct and not John Doyle, whose current revival is booking in the UK through March.

Incidentally, for those of you who are fans of both Raul Esparza and Merrily We Roll Along, check out this clip from the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration. Perhaps Raul's established relationship with the Roundabout and with the show will afford him the opportunity reprise the role of Charley Kringas. Or perhaps he will give Frank Shepard a whirl? I'm certainly anxious to find out...

Distraction Numero Dos:
It's Oscar night and the writers are back! I will take this moment to use what Merriam-Webster OnLine has determined to be the 2007 Word of the Year: W00t!

As I shamefully place my tail between my legs, I have to say I don't know much about this year's nominated films. I have not seen a single Best Picture nominee. In fact, out of all of the nominated films tonight, I've only seen Sweeney Todd (ironically enough), The Savages, Across The Universe and Enchanted. As such, I will not even attempt predictions, as they would be primarily based on media coverage or my opinions of the nominees' body of work.

Even still, I will be plopping my ass down on the couch this evening to soak in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood's most talked about evening. It will begin with Barbara Walters' well-rounded line-up, which will certainly appeal to the celebrity-hungry: Miley Cyrus, Harrison Ford, Vanessa Williams and Ellen Page. Then Jon Stewart will host the first scripted awards show since the writers return. Watching the fruits of their two weeks' labor unfold before a script-starved Hollywood (and America) should be very entertaining. But then, the Oscars rarely disappoint.

So, if you will, join me in my couch potatodom. And may you enjoy your little nibbles of Broadway and Hollywood on this day in television history that any self-respecting theatre/film geek would describe as "way cool!"

Double w00t!

No comments: