Sondheim: The Birthday Concert

DVD / 2010

A rousing celebration of the life and work of one of Broadway’s greatest legends – the one and only Stephen Sondheim. For the master composer and lyricist’s 80th birthday, many of musical theater’s brightest stars gathered to perform more than two dozen sensational numbers from Sondheim’s illustrious career. Many of these enduring songs are rarely heard and several are performed by the original Broadway cast members. David Hyde Pierce hosts this magical event with Stephen Sondheim’s longtime collaborator Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic.Filmed live, March 15 – 16, 2010 at Avery Fisher Hall, New York City

Performances Include:

  • “Johanna”(Nathan Gunn, Sweeney Todd)
  • “Too Many Mornings” (Nathan Gunn, Audra McDonald, Follies)
  • “It Takes Two” (Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Into the Woods)
  • “Growing Up” (Jim Walton, Merrily We Roll Along)
  • “Finishing the Hat” (Mandy Patinkin, Sunday in the Park with George)
  • “Move On” (Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Sunday in the Park with George)
  • “Pretty Women” (Michael Cerveris, George Hearn, Sweeney Todd)
  • “So Many People” (Laura Benanti, Saturday Night)
  • “Beautiful Girls” (David Hyde Pierce)
  • “Ladies Who Lunch” (Patti LuPone, Company)
  • “The Glamorous Life” (Audra McDonald, A Little Night Music)
  • “Could I Leave You?” (Donna Murphy, Follies)
  • “Sunday” (Broadway Chorus, Sunday in the Park with George)
  • “Happy Birthday” (All Cast)

Sondheim! The Birthday Concert is a historic tribute to the Broadway work of Stephen Sondheim that took place in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall in March 2010. That’s 25 years after a similar all-star concert, Follies in Concert, was held in the same venue, also with Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic, and the song list and parade of stars seems intended to evoke those memories. But rather than re-creating one show, this concert hosted by David Hyde Pierce celebrates three decades of work in honor of the composer’s 80th birthday. Three songs from Follies are covered by a young generation of talent (Jenn Colella, Matt Cavenaugh, Bobby Steggert, Laura Osnes), by Audra McDonald and opera star Nathan Gunn, and by original cast member John McMartin … Since none of the shows represented were written later than the ’80s (Passion is not represented, though its two female leads are, nor is Assassins), it’s safe to say that this combination of songs sung by so many original stars will never be repeated. –David Horiuchi