small observations


went to see ‘sondheim on sondheim’ tonite at the theater at studio 54 (an always odd experience in a now-defunct club that i went to once or twice when it was way past it’s heyday).  it was beautiful and sometimes painful for me.  everything was done with heads held high and a troupe of good singers including barbara cook.  i grew up listening to various barbara cook albums including her turn in the recorded concert version of follies from a few years back and for many years performed ‘i can cook too’ which she sung on one of her albums (from ‘on the town’.)  i was thrilled to finally have a chance to see her perform live.  she had a few moments in the show that were quite touching – those quiet moments they didn’t make her try to keep up with the rest of the cast – her walking is pretty bad and there was a lot of ‘sit and sing’ going on…lots of floating benches suddenly appearing so that she could be part of the ‘action’ but sitting down.  nonetheless, she nailed 3 songs…one at the beginning of the show (and i don’t remember which song it was), ‘not a day goes by’ – this was the song that made me cry — i have loved this song for many years but sing it only privately – it’s complicated tonally and needs some major quiet gravitas to do it justice – and, lastly, ‘send in the clowns’ – which my teenage daughter wept to -(which secretly made me so proud to see her cry to this simply sung, by ms. cook, simply and perfectly delivered (yes, sitting down) song). 

in the row in front of us (and easy to see as this theater pitches hard downward (or, i suppose, upward  depending on one’s perspective) was a couple in their 60s.  during a few of the quieter songs, he put his hand across her legs and gently stroked her knees.  it was a sweet thing to see – they were entwined. 

it was thrilling to watch the videotaped interviews with the master himself.  he understands that he is leaving a legacy behind him and it was wonderful to listen.  we had the real luck of having just seen ‘anyone can whistle’ about a month ago at the ny city center ‘encores presentations’ production and right after the matinee, mr. sondheim himself came on stage with members of the cast and we all sat and listened to a question and answer session.  you could see during that experience and tonite, the wheels of my teenage daughter’s brain going round and round as she found herself soaked in the sound of genius.  she has a true talent for songwriting – and these two shows really lit a{nother} fire under her. 

i am always reminded by these moments of inspiration (the sondheim songs more and less the entwined older couple) that i should be doing more and thinking less about doing more and just doing more.  i have to get on top of that. 


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