Stephen Sondheim: Last News

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Flawed but still glorious, ‘Follies’ revival opens in San Francisco

Welcome to Curtain Call, our mostly queer take on the latest openings on Broadway and beyond.With a multigenerational cast of 21, some particularly labyrinthine Sondheim lyrics, and one of the more unorthodox narrative structures in Broadway musical history, it’s taken Follies over a half-century to hit the boards in San Francisco. The Bay Area’s first-ever professional production of the 1971 backstage psychodrama about a late middle-age reunion of Ziegfield-style showgirls decades after their days in the kickline marks a major achievement for The San Francisco Playhouse and its artistic director, Bill English, who also helmed the show.There are plenty of goosebumps in store for audiences, not least of which are those raised by the grand ambition and determination required to mount this near-mythical colossus in the midst of a pandemic: The production not only had to recast multiple roles as its run was repeatedly rescheduled from a planned 2020 debut, but even this week’s official opening came after two postponements due to COVID in the company.Related: In Broadway’s ‘The Kite Runner,’ redemption drifts in the windThe anginal heart of Follies is the relationship of two struggling married couples — former chorines Sally (Natascia Diaz) and Phyllis (Maureen McVerry) and their husbands, Buddy (Anthony Rollins-Mullens) and Ben (Chris Vettel) — who effectively provide a musical theater counterpart to the quarrelsome quartet of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All four characters are brilliantly played with palpable neuroses, each unpredictably swinging between comic and creepy extremes.
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We need to revisit Liza Minnelli’s super gay electronic dance album that nobody seems to remember
Liza Minnelli made a rare appearance alongside Lady Gaga at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night to present the Best Picture category. She was also there to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her movie Cabaret, for which she won an Oscar.While Liza is primarily known for singing showtunes, in 1989, she recorded a dance album called Results. It was a complete departure from her previous efforts and arguably one of the gayest things she’s ever done, which, we know, is saying a lot.Related: The 10 gayest GIFs from last night’s insane OscarsResults was produced by the Pet Shop Boys and Australian music producer Julian Mendelsohn, whose credits include a number of queer artists, including Pet Shop Boys, Dusty Springfield, and Elton John.The album was an odd mishmash of unexpected material and wasn’t a hit in the US, but it reached #6 in the UK, spawning four singles, including an electronic re-working of the Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind”.Liza followed that up with the single “Don’t Drop Bombs”, another electronic track, influenced by Bananarama’s “Venus”, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, and the Broadway melody ballet from Singin’ in the Rain.From there, Liza chose “So Sorry, I Said”, a mid-tempo ballad, for the album’s third single.
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