Serious Sondheim and “Into The Woods” fans might be interested in this… a “second midnight” song, from the first act, which was cut at some point. I assume this audio recording was made during a rehearsal; the accompaniment is just piano, but the people singing are the original Broadway cast.
This video is also very interesting — it’s a fragment of Sondheim teaching a young student the interpretation of “Send In The Clowns” from “A Little Night Music.”
Here’s another video of Sondheim discussing “Send In The Clowns,” and the process of songwriting generally. It’s interspersed with clips of an opera singer rehearsing the song, which is a bit unfortunate since I think an operatic approach is exactly wrong for this song. (“Clowns” was practically ruined in the 1970s by Barbara Streisland’s beautifully sung, emotionally empty version of it, which turned it into a cliche.
And another teaching video from the same class, this time with Sondheim teaching “My Friends” from “Sweeny Todd.”
Dinah Shore performs “Ladies Who Lunch” as a duet, with Jane Russell (who replaced Elaine Stritch when Stritch left the original cast). This is quite possibly the single worse performance of this song ever recorded; Russell looks as if she was probably very good on her own, but Shore is transcendentally awful. (If you’re curious to hear a good performance of this song, check out Barbara Walsh’s performance, or the late Sheila Gish’s.)1
- I looked for a video of Elaine Stritch’s classic “Ladies Who Lunch” — I know one exists — but, surprisingly, no one seems to have Youtubed it. I did find this oddball Chris Eliot short, which is a parody of a documentary of the making of the “Company” cast album. In the documentary, Stritch tries and fails to get “Ladies Who Lunch” right in take, after take, after painfully frustrating take. She finally delivers a great performance the next morning. [↩]