We've written before at the disappointment, the dreary malaise, the gloomy oppression that comes with learning Houston theatergoers will endure yet another season of Broadway warhorses like Sound of Music without getting to hear any Stephen Sondheim.
While Houston won't likely be hearing any Sondheim shows this year, it will hear the next best thing: Sondheim himself.
The Society for the Performing Arts has announced their season schedule, and it includes a "conversation" between Sondheim and Frank Rich, the former theater critic for The New York Times who is now an op-ed columnist.
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Says the SPA:
In 2008 Mr. Sondheim agreed to accept a limited number of "rare" appearances with New York Times columnist and former chief drama critic Frank Rich.
During the live, unscripted conversation, Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Rich will reminisce about Stephen Sondheim's career including his collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins and Tim Burton; predecessors, including his mentor Oscar Hammerstein II; the state of American musical theater; the differences between film and theater; and, in a very personal series of reflections, his own creative process, speaking specifically on works ranging from his early shows Gypsy and West Side Story to such later classics as Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd.
It is an evening conversation that offers a most personal and engaging view of Stephen Sondheim and his life in the theatre.
Sondheim and Rich have done these "conversations" numerous times around the country; while the composer is an engaging storyteller, he does tend to tell the same stories over and over. (Expect to hear how Ethel Merman's only question about the deep psychological abyss shown in the song "Rose's Turn" was whether the stuttering came in on the downbeat or the upbeat.)
Still, it's better than nothing, which is what Houston usually gets, Sondheim-wise.