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Image Entertainment will release the film of the New York Philharmonic concert staging of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’, starring Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris and Tony and Olivier winner Patti LuPone, on DVD and Blu-ray this Fall.
Director Lonny Price, who staged the starry concerts, told Playbill.com that a November release is expected, though an official date has not been finalized.
Musical theatre fans are in for a very special treat. Coming to the big screen at select cinemas on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April is a unique and outstanding production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, one with a brilliant ensemble cast that includes some of the hottest names from American stage and TV circles. Staged by the world-famous New York Philharmonic, Company was recorded live from the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, New York in 2011 and is now screening in cinemas outside the US for the first time.
The audio for Stephen’s interview on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” will be available at 5:00PM (ET).
Exclusive Web Audio: Stephen: “When I’m brushing my hair in the morning, which is quite an event”.
In the mean time here is a wonderful summary:
“I imagined myself living in New York in some sort of open large-but-sparse studio apartment with a lot of blond wood and a futon on the floor and a bubbling samovar or tea in the background and a big beard — living alone but with my beard — and doing theater,” he says. “That’s what I thought my life would be. It has not been — and I love what I do — but to be asked to do this and then to accept the challenge of it … I can la-di-da my way through things … but to sing Sondheim is a completely different beast.”
Let Me Entertain You
It was Sondheim, in fact, who wanted Colbert to perform in Company. After appearing on Colbert’s show, Sondheim invited Colbert to appear in the production. But Colbert’s agent turned the role down, saying that there was absolutely no way Colbert could fit the limited engagement into his busy taping schedule. That’s when Sondheim wrote Colbert a personal note.
“[He said that] against his instincts, he had a good time on my show and would I consider playing Harry in Company?” he says. “And he ended the letter with the sentence ‘You have a perfect voice for musical theater.’ And I read it to my wife and she said, ‘Boy, you have to do this. No one, let alone Stephen Sondheim is going to ask you to do Sondheim.’ And I said, ‘You’re right, I have to do it.’”
Once he was cast, Colbert started taking voice lessons and gained a new respect, he says, for professional singers. “What I rediscovered was the therapeutic nature of singing lessons,” he says. “They’re like doing yoga but for [the] inside of your body. You open up and use muscles that you don’t think of as malleable … You can turn your head into a bell … that’s what we kept working on: resonance and projection and relaxation and just remembering or relearning how to breathe through a phrase. The technical aspects of it are fascinating to go through in the lessons. And then you have to forget all of it, and sing.”
Because of the cast members’ busy schedules, most of the rehearsals were conducted via the Internet. Colbert was given recordings of his harmonies and told to practice them alone. The cast got together infrequently to rehearse their lines and choreography — and then performed live at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic.
“On one level, it was impossible,” he says, of the limited run engagement. “In another way, it was the only way it could have gotten done — because you couldn’t have gotten all of these people to commit to doing Company. … I literally left rehearsal for Company [one night] and went and did “Friday” on Jimmy Fallon and then went back to Company. It was just a tremendous experience.”
In The Company Of The Colbert Report
Colbert says he specifically chose not to mention his role in Company on his show The Colbert Report for two reasons. The first, he says, was to protect the production from any kind of “fake” endorsements.
“People could ascribe an insincerity to the things that I tout on the show,” he explains. “And I didn’t want to ascribe any insincerity to trying to go do this [musical] at Lincoln Center. Because I knew that I was dealing with somebody else’s delicate product and I didn’t want to invest it with my character’s ego.”
The second reason he chose not to mention Company on The Report, says Colbert, is that he was worried that his performance wouldn’t live up to his expectations.
“I had no idea if I wanted anyone to know I was doing it, because I knew how hard it was going to be,” he says. “I was afraid I would suck. I don’t mind failing so much, but I am a perfectionist. … If you’re a perfectionist and you know you’re about to do something at which you cannot be perfect … then that is daunting because you know what your heart is like and the way you approach your work. … It was difficult to say ‘Hold onto your socks America, I’m singing Sondheim.’”
After the production’s run, Colbert sent a note to Sondheim, thanking him for getting him into “the most joyous trouble” he’s ever been in.
“I tell a lot of young performers, ‘Go get in trouble. Go commit yourself to something you’re not sure you can do,’” he says. “And I followed my own advice. It was something I desperately wanted to do — not as a career — but an invitation I knew I couldn’t refuse and yet had no sense of whether or not I could do it. And that is trouble — but it was all so joyful. I’m very grateful to Mr. Sondheim that he got me in such trouble.”
(Thanks to Gratefull and Therese for the link)
For your viewing pleasure: HQ video of Stephen’s appearances at last night’s Tony Awards!
Jon Cryer was a guest “The Late Show with David Letterman” last night in which he spoke about amongst other things how he got involved with “Company” and working with Stephen Colbert.
Fast forward to (7.05) for the Colbert goodness.
(Thanks to somuch2kno for the tip.)