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Friday, 02 October 2009 10:21

Roundabout Announces Barbara Cook and Vanessa Williams in New Sondheim Musical

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
presents
Barbara Cook                      Vanessa Williams
In the new original Broadway musical
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM
with
Michael Arden            Leslie Kritzer

 

Music & Lyrics
Stephen Sondheim
Conceived & Directed
James Lapine

“Stephen Sondheim is now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the
American musical theater.” – Frank Rich, NY Times.

Previews begin March 19th, 2010; Official Opening April 22nd, 2010

on Broadway at Studio 54

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) is proud to have Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine return to Studio 54 with Sondheim on Sondheim, a new original Broadway musical starring Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Michael Arden & Leslie Kritzer.  Music & lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, conceived & directed by James Lapine.

Sondheim on Sondheim will begin previews onMarch 19th, 2010 and open officially April 22nd, 2010 at Studio 54 on Broadway (254 West 54th Street).  This will be a limited engagement through Sunday, June 13th, 2010.

He brought us Into The Woods, Company, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, West Side Story and Gypsy (to name a few). By writing songs that reflect the complexity of his characters, he has changed the way we define a great musical. But even though millions of fans know his songs by heart, few know much about Stephen Sondheim himself. Until now. Roundabout presents Sondheim On Sondheim, an intimate portrait of the famed composer in his own words... and music. Through the use of exclusive interview footage, you’ll get an inside look at Sondheim’s personal life and artistic process. An ensemble cast of Broadway’s best will perform brand-new arrangements of over two dozen Sondheim tunes, ranging from the beloved to the obscure. Directed by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, this unique experience will take you inside the life and mind of an ordinary New Yorker… with an extraordinary talent.

It has been over 37 years since Barbara Cook appeared in a Broadway musical.  Ms. Cook won the 1958 Tony Award® for her portrayal of “Marian Paroo” in The Music Man.  She has been called one of the greatest interpreters of the work of Mr. Sondheim and received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Theatrical Event for her solo, limited engagement concert Mostly Sondheim in 2002.

Vanessa Williams received a 2002 Tony Award® nomination for her performance of the “Witch” in Into the Woods and made her Broadway debut in 1994 in Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Additional cast members will be announced shortly.

Sondheim on Sondheim’s design team includes Beowulf Boritt (Sets), Susan Hilferty (Costumes), Ken Billington (Lights), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound), Peter Flaherty (Projections), David Loud (Musical Director).

Roundabout has a long relationship with Stephen Sondheim having produced five Tony Award® nominated Sondheim revivals including Company (1995), Follies (2001), Tony Award® winning Assassins (2004), Pacific Overtures (2004) and Sunday in the Park with George (2008).  This production of Sondheim on Sondheim marks the fourth Sondheim musical produced by Roundabout Theatre Company at Studio 54, where Assassins, Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George all played.  In 2009 Roundabout presented a one-night only gala concert reading of A Little Night Music at Studio 54 starring Natasha Richardson, Victor Garber and Vanessa Redgrave.  In 2005, Roundabout honored Sondheim with the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre for theindelible impact hislife’s work has made on the theatre world.

James Lapine also returns to Roundabout Theatre Company and Studio 54 after the 2008 Tony Award® nominated production of Sunday in the Park with George starring Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell.
                         
Major support provided by The Shen Family Foundation, Perry and Marty Granoff, Tom and Diane Tuft, and First Service Williams.

TICKET INFORMATION:
Tickets will be available in December 2009 by phone at (212) 719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Studio 54 Box Office (254 West 54th Street).  To become a Roundabout subscriber visit www.roundabouttheatre.org or call Roundabout Ticket Services (212)719-1300.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
Sondheim on Sondheim willplay Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00PM with a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2:00PM. 

 

2010 SPRING GALA: SONDHEIM 80.
Stephen Sondheim turns 80 on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 and Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) will celebrate this landmark with a star-studded tribute at the 2010 Spring Gala: Sondheim 80. Roundabout will celebrate this incredible artist whose six decades on Broadway has changed the face of musical theatre.  Guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner and enjoy performances by some of Broadway’s greatest talent.  The Gala chairs are Michael T. Cohen, Martin & Perry Granoff and Tom & Diane Tuft.  All proceeds from this event will benefit Roundabout Theatre Company’s Musical Theatre Fund.  For more information, please contact Steve Schaeffer, Director of Special Events, at 212-719-9393 x312 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Biographies:
STEPHEN SONDHEIM (Music and Lyrics)  - draft for approval - wrote the music and lyrics for Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971; revised in London, 1987), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), as well as the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983) and Putting It Together (1993/99) are anthologies of his work. He composed the film scores of Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He also wrote songs for the television production "Evening Primrose" (1966), co-authored, with Anthony Perkins, the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and, with George Furth, the play Getting Away with Murder (1996), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961) and Twigs (1971). He won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Saturday Night (1954), his first professional musical, finally had its New York premiere in 1999 at Second Stage Theatre.

JAMES LAPINE (Conceived, Director) – draft for approval - also collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into the Woods, Passion, and directed a revised version of Merrily We Roll Along at the La Jolla Playhouse.  With William Finn he collaborated on the musicals March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, later presented together on Broadway as Falsettos.  He has recently directed Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, currently running on Broadway.  He is the author of five plays:  Table SettingsTwelve DreamsLuck, Pluck and VirtueThe Moment When;  and Fran’s Bed.  On Broadway he has also directed The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child by David Henry Hwang and Dirty Blonde by Claudia Shear, Amour by Michel Legrand and Jeremy Sams, as well as the films Impromptu, Life with Mikey, and Earthly Possessions.

BARBARA COOK’s silvery soprano, purity of tone, and warm presence have delighted audiences around the world for more than 50 years. Considered “Broadway’s favorite ingenue” during the heyday of the Broadway musical, Miss Cook then launched a second career as a concert and recording artist soaring from one professional peak to another.  Ms. Cook’s most recent New York appearances include an appearance with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, a reprise of her three sold out 80th Birthday concerts in 2007, and a critically acclaimed new show “Here’s To Life” at Feinstein’s at the Regency. In the past few years Ms. Cook also returned to Carnegie Hall, where she made her legendary solo concert debut over 30 years ago, for her sixth solo concert and made an historic solo concert debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, where she became the first female solo pop singer to be presented in concert by the MET.  Miss Cook won a NY Drama Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her concert Barbara Cook’s Broadway and was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her previous concert, Mostly Sondheim.  Her many Broadway credits include the creation of three classic roles in the American musical theatre: Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Marian the Librarian in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (Tony Award) and Amalia in Bock and Harnick’s She Loves Me (Drama Desk Award). In 1975 she made her Carnegie Hall debut which was preserved as the live recording, Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall.  She then embarked on a second career as a concert and recording artist performing in most of the country’s major concert halls and cabarets. In 1987 she won a Drama Desk Award for her Broadway show, A Concert for the Theatre. Her many London appearances include: her Gala 1997 Birthday Concert with the Royal Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall; appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican; engagements at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, and Sadler’s Wells; and Olivier Award-nominated appearances at the Albery Theatre,  at the Lyric Theatre with Mostly Sondheim, two engagements of Barbara Cook’s Broadway, and most recently an appearance with the English National Ballet in an all-Gershwin evening at the Royal Albert Hall.  A Grammy Award winner, her recordings include eight original Broadway cast albums, two Ben Bagley albums of songs by Jerome Kern and George Gershwin, an album entitled Songs of Perfect Propriety, featuring poems by Dorothy Parker set to music by Seymour Barab, As Of Today (Columbia) and The Disney Album (MCA). Her more recent recordings for DRG Records include: Close as Pages in a Book, Barbara Cook: Live From London, Oscar Winners: The Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein, All I Ask Of You, The Champion Season: A Salute to Gower Champion, Mostly Sondheim, Barbara Cook’s Broadway, the Grammy nominated Count Your Blessings,  Tribute, the live performance cd, Barbara Cook at the Met, No One Is Aloneand Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder.  Next month, DRG Records will release a boxed set of her recordings under the title The Essential Barbara Cook.

VANESSA WILLIAMS is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today.  She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures.  She has sold over four million albums worldwide and her skills as an actress on stage, in film and on television have earned critical praise.  Performing – and music in particular – has always played an important role in Vanessa’s life.  Born in Millwood, New York, Vanessa’s early years were spent surrounded by music.  Her parents were music teachers who recognized her musical gifts early on and encouraged her to pursue her love of the arts.  When she was young, she acted, danced, played piano and French horn in her high school orchestra, concert band and marching band and she sang in the concert choir and chorus.  Her early interest in performing led to a passion for musical theatre.  She won an NFAA scholarship was a finalist for a Presidential Scholarship in acting in 1981 and chose to continue her education at Syracuse University, where she majored in musical theatre.  While at college in 1983, Vanessa was sought after by local talent scouts who invited her to participate in the Miss Greater Syracuse Pageant.  Three months later, Vanessa won the 1983 Miss America title and the $30,000 scholarship that accompanied it.  The controversy that followed only left Vanessa stronger and more empowered in her commitment to a career in the world of entertainment.  Vanessa launched her recording career in 1988 with her first album, “The Right Stuff,” which went gold and earned her first three Grammy Award nominations.  Her 1991 multi-million selling follow-up, “The Comfort Zone,” which featured the unforgettable “Save the Best For Last,” and her third album, “The Sweetest Days,” each yielded multiple hits and Grammy nominations.  She was nominated for yet another Grammy for her hit single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s “Pocahontas,” which went on to win an Academy Award, Golden Globe and the Grammy for Best Song in a Motion Picture.  Her numerous recordings also include two holiday albums, “Star Bright” and “Silver & Gold;” “Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years;” “Our Favorite Things,” with Tony Bennett, Placido Domingo and Charlotte Church and “Everlasting Love,” a collection of her favorite love songs from the 1970’s.  Concord Records released Vanessa’s newest album, “The Real Thing,” in June.  In 1994, Vanessa realized a life-long dream, taking Broadway by storm when she replaced Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman.  Her performance won critics over and was a box-office sensation, firmly establishing Vanessa as a multi-talented triple-threat.  Vanessa also garnered rave reviews and was nominated for a Tony Award in the 2002 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, taking a brief break from the production to headline a limited special engagement of the classic, Carmen Jones, at the Kennedy Center, playing to sold-out houses and achieving glowing notices.  Previously, Vanessa captivated theatre-goers off-Broadway in One Man Band and in the Los Angeles production of Ron Milner’s Checkmates. She also starred in the Encore! Series staged concert production of St. Louis Woman, which was also released as a cast recording.  Vanessa made her film debut in 1986 in Under the Gun and she appeared in the films The Pick-Up Artist, Another You (with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder) and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (with Mickey Rourke). She starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Warner Bros.’ action thriller, Eraser, followed by a leading role opposite Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia in Hoodlum and an NAACP Image Award winning performance with the box-office hit, Soul Food.  She has starred in the romantic dance-musical Dance With Me, Light It Up, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland and Shaft, opposite Samuel L. Jackson.  She co-starred in Johnson Family Vacation with Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey.  She starred recently in the independent features, My Brother and Somebody Like You and co-starred in Disney’s feature film, Hannah Montana: The Movie.  Vanessa has also played diverse roles on television, in such productions as “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “The Boy Who Loved Christmas” and “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” for which she won an NAACP Image Award.  She commanded rave reviews for her performance in ABC’s revival of “Bye, Bye Birdie” and starred in the mini-series “Nothing Lasts Forever” and the Emmy-nominated “The Odyssey,” which also garnered impressive ratings and an Image Award nomination for Vanessa.  Vanessa starred opposite John Lithgow in TNT’s “Don Quixote” and she executive produced and starred in “The Courage to Love” for Lifetime Television.  She starred in the VH1 Original Movie, “A Diva’s Christmas Carol,” which was the highest rated movie ever for VH1, their second highest rated telecast overall of in 2000 and their fourth highest rated telecast of all time.  She co-starred in the Showtime movie “Keep the Faith, Baby”and the UPN drama, “South Beach” and garnered rave reviews for hosting the 2009 Daytime Emmy Awards.  She currently stars in ABC’s critically-acclaimed hit series, “Ugly Betty,” for which she has been nominated three times for the Emmy Award for her role and she and her co-stars and the show have won or been nominated for numerous individual and ensemble awards, including the Emmy, SAG Award, Golden Globe and NAACP Image Awards.  Among Vanessa’s many awards and honors, she was honored in 1996 with the coveted Lena Horne Career Achievement Award at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.  In 2007, she achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer.  Vanessa’s charitable contributions are many and varied, embracing and supporting such issues as education, homelessness, abuse, women’s issues and health concerns, AIDS and anything having to do with children.  Specifically, she is actively involved with such organizations as Green Chimneys, a working farm in Westchester County that provides educational and residential programs to help troubled inner-city adolescents; The Open Door, which provides walk-in medical care for homeless families; The Cottage School for displaced young women and the Special Olympics, among many others.

MICHAEL ARDEN.  Broadway: Big River at Roundabout Theatre Company and Times They are A Changin’.  Off-Broadway/LA/Regional:Bare, Swimming in the Shallows, It’s Only Life, Encores Bash, JUNO, Pippin (LA Drama Critics Circle nominee for Best Actor), Ace, God of Vengeance, Where’s Charley, Once in a Lifetime, Harold & Maude. Film: Bride Wars, Underground.  Television: “Bones,” “The Closer,” “Kings,” “The Return of Jezebel James,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” Michael sang alongside Barbra Streisand on her first ever European tour and appears in concerts in both NewYork and Los Angeles.  Training: The Juilliard School,Interlochen Arts Academy, Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

LESLIE KRITZER.  Broadway credits include A Catered Affair (Drama Desk Nomination), Legally Blonde (Clerence Derwent Award for Most Promising Performer) and Hairspray. She received critical acclaim and a Time Out New York award for her sold-out Joe's Pub run of Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone At Les Mouches (a performance she repeated at The Plush Room in San Francisco). Off-Broadway and regional credits include Rooms, On The Town (Encores!), The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Drama Desk Nomination), Bat Boy, Godspell, Broadway: Three Generations (Kennedy Center), Cabaret, Born Yesterday, the world premiere of Vanities, Urinetown (National Tour), Evita and an acclaimed “Fanny Brice” in Funny Girl. She has performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall as a guest soloist honoring Tim Rice and Alan Menken and can be heard on several cast recordings. Film credits include 17 Photos Of Isabel. Television credits include “3LBS” (CBS) and “Jason and Jessica” (HBO).

 

Roundabout Theatre Company is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit theatres.  The company contributes invaluably to New York's cultural life by staging the highest quality revivals of classic plays and musicals as well as new plays by established writers. Roundabout consistently partners great artists with great works to bring a fresh and exciting interpretation that makes each production relevant and important to today’s audiences.

Roundabout Theatre Company currently produces at three permanent homes each of which is designed specifically to enhance the needs of the Roundabout's mission.  Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics.  Roundabout's Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions.  Together these three distinctive venues serve to enhance the work on each of its stages.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company.  Roundabout productions are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts; and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2009-2010 season includes Mark Saltzman, Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin’s The Tin Pan Alley Rag, directed by Stafford Arima; Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie, starring Sienna Miller & Jonny Lee Miller, directed by Mark Brokaw; Michael Stewart, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse’s Bye Bye Birdie, starring John Stamos, Gina Gershon, Bill Irwin & Nolan Gerard Funk, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom; Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, directed by Tony Taccone; Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Justin Kirk and Julie White, directed by Scott Ellis; Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days, directed by Marc Bruni; Noël Coward’s Present Laughter starring Victor Garber, directed by Nicholas Martin and Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, directed by Gordon Edelstein. Roundabout’s sold out production of The 39 Steps made its second Broadway transfer to the Helen Hayes Theatre on January 21, 2009.

www.roundabouttheatre.org

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