SONDHEIM/GUETTEL (Sorry/Grateful)

Here’s an excellent one hour conversation between Stephen Sondheim and Adam Guettel, filmed in Sondheim’s Turtle Bay townhouse on E. 49th Street. Aside from getting to see the very nice interiors of Sondheim’s long-time NYC abode you get to hear more from Sondheim than the usual anecdotes, though you’ll get a good cry at the often-told Oscar Hammerstein story at the end–the one where Sondheim asks him to inscribe a picture for him as Hammerstein is dying and the mentor writes to his protege…well, I’m not gonna spoil it if you don’t already know it. If you’re reading this then chances are you already know about the complex and oddly royal relationships at play here, to wit: Guettel is the grandson of Richard Rodgers. Sondheim is the protege of Hammerstien who replaced Sondheim’s absent father as a paternal figure. Sondheim wrote a show with Guettel’s grandfather (‘Do I Hear A Waltz’) and is good friends with his mother Mary Rodgers who wrote ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ and, as Sondheim says in this interview, gave him much of the material he required on the subject of marriage for his landmark musical ‘Company’. Since that legendary conversation consisted of Mary Rodgers discussing her two marriages and why one worked and the other didn’t, she’s discussing the home that Guettel comes from while he sits listening to the man whose show was based on his family’s deterioration…etc. etc. Broadway’s a small world and not shy about its tendencies toward incest.

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