Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

Sondheimas 2k16: Opening Number

A series of posts looking at the music from Sondheimas 2016. The initial post can be viewed here, and the others can be found here.

The Sondheimas Boy Choir

The Sondheimas Boy Choir

Like any good opening number of musical, the opening number of Sondheimas hopefully sets the tone for the evening, and tells the audience what the show will be about. To some extent, at least. The first year's opening number was from Frogs and "God" from Sondheim on Sondheim, setting up the religious ceremony. Last year we opened with an instrumental of "I Never Do Anything Twice" (tongue-in-cheek) and the opening invocation from Frogs, followed by Molly Pope singing "Back in Business" from Dick Tracy - songs that said, "We're back!" This year, we opened with "Baby June and Her Newsboys," from Gypsy, performed by the Sondheimas Boy Choir - here, Sean Doherty, Matthew Lummus, Mike Walsh, and Eric Williams.

"Baby June..." is a great opener for a cabaret act, especially one that purports to introduce Stephen Sondheim, because its original context in Gypsy was as the introduction to June's act. With a few lyric changes by David, our own Newsboys - complete with the necessary choreography - welcome Sondheim to the stage before the SondheimCon intern reveals that he will not be in attendance. He was nice enough to send a video from his Connecticut country house, though! (Those who were at the first performance of Sondheimas 2k16 unfortunately didn't get to hear Steve's video, due to technical problems, but it is included here.)

Sean, Matthew, Mike, and Eric are all a part of the Sondheimas Family, as are Scottie Rowell and Puppet Sondheim - all have been a part of our celebration for the last few years. Other than the lyric modifications and a transposed key to better fit the boy choir's voices, this arrangement of "Baby June..." is taken straight from the original.

It might seem a little odd to open a celebration of Sondheim with a song that he only wrote the lyrics too, but Gypsy continues to stand out as one of the more popular works from the Golden Era of musical theatre and as perennial favorite of Sondheim's oeuvre. Side note: the setting of the word "decade" has always bothered me, but it's not supposed to be a "good" lyric!

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