My favourite Sondheim

6 Jun 2019

With his incisive lyrics and playful melodies, Stephen Sondheim’s works have deeply touched musical theatre lovers across the world. We asked members of our star-studded A Little Night Music cast to share their favourite song by the master composer-lyricist.

Elisa Colla (Anne Egerman) - ‘No One is Alone’ from Into the Woods

I’ve always found the message of this song so moving. No matter what life throws at you, the ups and downs, when you feel lost, when you have to make big or difficult decisions on your own – you are never truly alone. There is always someone who cares for you and who loves you. When talking about this song Sondheim quoted: "We all need and depend on each other. We are never alone when we are all connected to each other.'

I can’t go past the original Broadway cast performance of this song by Kim Crosby, Chip Zien, Danielle Ferland and Ben Wright. The storytelling is beautifully raw and truthful.

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Verity Hunt-Ballard (Countess Charlotte Malcolm) - ‘Being Alive’ from Company

I’ve chosen Bernadette Peters performing ‘Being Alive’. I admire her insightful interpretation of a song originally written for a male character. The balance of power and vulnerability in Bernadette’s voice takes one on a beautiful journey of introspection. 

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Alinta Chidzey (Petra) - ‘Send in the Clowns’ from A Little Night Music

Geraldine Turner, one of Australia’s great actresses, performing 'Send in the Clowns’ is truly moving. Her honest delivery of the song is a masterclass – every moment nuanced with heartbreak, humour and loneliness. In complete stillness you understand everything she is going through. 

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Sophia Wasley (Fredrika Armfeldt) - ‘Moments in the Woods’ from Into the Woods

I love the original Broadway cast member Joanna Gleason's version as she portrays how the character of the baker's wife is the voice of reason. Sondheim demonstrates how there is a grown-up side to a person who chooses to be responsible and do the right thing by society, but also the other almost child-like side that is wanting to chase the dream. I think these aspects are really brought to life in Gleason's performance.

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Ali McGregor (Desirée Armfeldt) - ‘The Glamorous Life’ from A Little Night Music

I chose Audra McDonald singing ‘The Glamorous Life’ – a song written for Fredrika to sing in the movie. It perfectly captures being a theatre daughter. And Audra is a GOD. 

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Simon Gleeson (Henrik Egerman) - ‘Finishing the Hat’ from Sunday in the Park with George

Like the show itself, 'Finishing the Hat' is a perfect exploration in bringing a blank canvas of emotion to life through composition. It so wonderfully delves into the lonely pursuit of creativity. And no one does it quite like Mandy Patinkin!

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What’s your favourite song by Stephen Sondheim? Do you love a particular performance of it? Comment to let us know and share the link.