Theater archives

Phone Rings, Door Chimes, Where is Sondheim?


Stephen Sondheim must be fed up with having been appointed the great granddaddy of the Broadway scene, always revived and feted, but unable to get a new show on Broadway (even though a bunch of young nitwits threw together something called Glory Days and got readily mounted this year, as it were). Stevie didn’t even show up for his lifetime achievement award on the Tonys, unwilling to change his travel plans on late notice for another of those “one foot in the grave” honors (though he did send a gracious speech read by the always angry Mandy Patinkin).

But at least the extraordinary composer is getting an OFF-Broadway production when Bounce finally comes to the Public this fall. The long-percolating show—another sardonic tuner about two brotherly con men—debuted in Chicago in 2003 and has been kicking around ever since, with various people jumping aboard and off-board as it keeps getting mixed to negative responses from eye-rolling adults. Having heard the not terribly inspired score, I wish Sondheim had just trashed the whole thing and done something completely else rather than fixate on this as his last chance to astound. But the man who’s capable of such genius (rhyming “personable/coercin’ a bull” in Company, just to name one of hundreds of examples) deserves whatever public forum he wants at this point. Besides, having worked on the show for so freakin’ long, he might totally be (let’s give him the benefit of the doubt) “fixing it”! I just hope the checks don’t…you know.