Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27. Day 208. I want to live in America

Professor Scott Harrison before he produced the letter
If I said I had a girl crush on Andrew Lloyd Webber people would surely question my taste but they would a least know who I was talking about. The man responsible for inflicting Aspects of Love and Starlight Express on the world is a household name. If we get another revival of The C Word (Cats), I might just vomit. And yet the real musical theatre genius of our time is barely known outside the circle of musical theatre tragics. Stephen Sondheim is the man. Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sondheim is a legend in his own lifetime, or at least he should be. But he really isn't. Of course those in the know, know better. Tonight, there was a mic-drop moment at the Conservatorium Theatre when Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University director Scott Harrison presented an actual letter penned by Sondheim. It was at the opening night of West Side Story. In a beautiful symmetry, 2017 is the 60th anniversary of the opening of WWS and the Conservatorium's 60th birthday. The selection of the Sondheim classic for the musical theatre students was clearly a no-brainer. Sondheim marked the occasion by sending a letter. I touched the letter because I am a fan girl. Stephen Sondheim was in his 20s when he wrote WWS. Now 60 years later that piece is as relevant as it ever was. If anything the tensions between the ethnic groups in the US is even greater than it was in the 1950s. That's why Sondheim is a genius in my mind and Lloyd Webber not so much (was Cats ever relevant to anyone?) I came out of the production wanting to sob. The modern day Romeo and Juliet tale is so beautiful and so tragic and the production was phenomenal. Calling this a student production is underselling it by a very long shot. I did the only sensible thing. I ate hot dogs and burgers. And then I raised a class to Stephen Sondheim and the students. Well played. You can listen to the podcast.
***The production images are supplied. The food and drink I took myself!

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