I saw the superb Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ this past Sunday which of course led to a deep Stephen dive on YouTube. Of primary importance in the canon of filmed Stephen stuff is D.A. Pennebaker’s remarkable documentation of the marathon recording session of the original cast album of ‘Company’. If you’ve never seen it you’re in for a major treat (even if musical theater isn’t necessarily your thing–the film works on different levels and is capable of being read allegorically as a study of group effort, work ethic, situational pressure achieving inspirational results…in other words like a Howard Hawks movie). As the opening crawl will tell you, this was to be the first in a number of docs about the recording of cast albums but ultimately proved to be the only one. In some ways that makes this doc all the more poignant–you’re in a 1970 time capsule in a location and situation never to be captured again. And Stephen obsessively teaching a singer the pronunciation of ‘Bubby’ (rhymes with ‘Goody’) is worth the entire non-price of admission. Enjoy, bubbalah!


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2 Responses

  1. Having performed some of these songs and many others from Mr. Sondheim’s oeuvre this past July at the Hollywood Bowl, this doc was a revelation. We even did Ladies Who Lunch with Elaine Stritch, who, 53 years after that cast recording, still brings down the house with that one. Thanks for pointing me to it!

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