Video Friday: Getting Married Today

This video was recently added to YouTube, and I accidentally stumbled on it with a squeal of delight. I’d been looking for footage from this production of Company for ages. This is the 1995 cast starring Boyd Gaines as Robert. This clip is the song “Getting Married Today,” pattered by one of my favorite performers, Veanne Cox. You likely know Veanne even if you don’t recognize her name. She’s one of those actors that you’ve seen around, if not on Broadway in Caroline, or Change or La Cage aux Folles, then on TV in Louie or the Brandy Cinderella, or films like You’ve Got Mail.

Veanne was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Amy. I’ve seen this song done so many different ways, and I really dig Veanne’s approach. She’s not just going for the laughs as so many do. The laughs come naturally because of how sincerely desperate she is. Her frantic, matter-of-fact delivery is relatable, sad, and hilarious all wrapped into one.

Here’s Veanne Cox in Company performing “Getting Married Today” alongside Danny Burstein and Patricia Ben Peterson.

Six by Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

Early in December, a documentary called Six by Sondheim aired on HBO about the life and career of Stephen Sondheim. I watched it the other week thanks to my friend’s HBO GO login information. You know who you are. Thaaaanks!

What’s cool about this documentary is that most of it is made up of interviews with Sondheim himself. He’s never shied away from speaking to the media so the filmmakers were able to collect interviews spanning his career. These interviews are then presented through the framework of six Sondheim songs, the six songs that arguably best encapsulate his career. Within this structure, we move through his writing history as he shares anecdotes, stories about Oscar Hammerstein, what inspires him, his working habits, and from where these six songs stem. The songs are also performed throughout the documentary: “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story, “Opening Doors” from Merrily We Roll Along, “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music, “I’m Still Here” from Follies, “Being Alive” from Company, and “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George.

Sondheim says some pretty wonderful things about composing, acting, and art as a whole. Several of the numbers are presented as mini-performances within the documentary, produced and performed by Broadway folks. A few felt a little over-produced in my opinion. The songs that were most effective were the ones with footage of the original companies (West Side Story, Company, and Sunday in the Park with George). For example, “Being Alive” from Company was a video of the very first Bobby, played by Dean Jones, in the studio recording the cast album. Now I know this song very, very well and have listened to it hundreds of times, but I sat there on my couch and just started crying. I love that a song can affect me in such a way even after all these years of listening to it.

So for the Sondheim fans out there, I do recommend a viewing. On second thought, even if you’re not a fan (seriously, what’s that about?), maybe this will be a good way for you to learn more about where he’s coming from with his writing. If anything, you’ll get a fascinating inside look at the man himself.

Six by Sondheim
Directed by James Lapine
Aired on HBO on December 9, 2013

Tony Countdown – 3 days!

Watch Raúl Esparza’s incredibly moving performance of the Sondheim classic “Being Alive” from the 2007 revival of Company.