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Top Customer Reviews
Love me just enough.
Cry but not too often,
Play but not too rough.
Keep a tender distance
So we'll both be free.
That's the way it ought to be....
Only Stephen Sondheim could come up with such sophisticated couplets to a love song as disquieting as the beautiful "Marry Me a Little". I was very fortunate to have seen the enthralling 2006 production at the Ethel Barrymore Theater last season, and I'm thrilled it has been captured for posterity on DVD as part of PBS's "Great Performances" series. There is something supremely ironic about how a 37-year old show, already revived twice, can feel fresher than most Broadway musicals written today. However, when the music reflects Sondheim at his most accomplished with performers so adept, it becomes a moot point, even though several of the songs here have been inescapable at karaoke bars for years from the lips of overly zealous musical theater aficionados.
Staged like a minimalist cabaret act, John Doyle's joyous revival uses the same technique he used in his 2005 production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, specifically he has the actors play their own musical instruments, a daring move which actually helps underline the characters' feelings. The story is blessedly simple as it revolves around perennial bachelor Bobby, as he turns 35 and observes his circle of upscale Manhattanite friends, five married couples at different stages in various vignettes that make him reconsider what he wants out of life.Read more ›
I loved Raul Esparza as Bobby. He played a very calm, sweet guy who gradually becomes more and more distraught about being as an outsider. His rendition of "Being Alive" is amazing, beyond words. The supporting cast is directed to be that -- "supporting" so if you're looking for an Elaine Strich-like "Ladies", get the OBC recording. I like this choice, because it makes Bobby the focal point, as it should be.
This revival is in the controversial John Doyle actor-doubling-as-musician style.Read more ›
This version has all the Sondheim songs that have grown into classics over the years, including "Another Hundred People," "Barcelona," "Sorry-Grateful" and of course the ever-fierce "Ladies Who Lunch." Other than Esparza, the cast members are not well-known names. We are told that this is the version that played for a year on Broadway and this TV edition was originally presented on the long-running "American Masters" series for Public TV.
Most people are bound to ask: Which is better, this version or the 2011 version with Neil Patrick Harris? Well, this version proceeded flawlessly enough, but it did not have quite the "oomph" of the Neil Patrick Harris version, possibly because it lacks the celebrity power. It also runs close to fifteen minutes shorter than the 2011 version, suggesting that some of the more New York-specific dialog was eliminated. (The cast members in this version wear stylish but black costumes, suggesting present-day action, while the 2011 version used period end-of-Sixties getup and no attempt to update the material.) Here, the action is restricted to a tiny square floor of a stage that would draw apologies as a disco dance floor or the setting for dinner theater.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having seen the original a number of times, both on Broadway and on tour, I'm not a fan of this revival. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Eric Brown
I love this show. Huge Sondheim fan and really enjoy the staging with the actors playing the instruments themselves.Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
Raul Esparza, better known today for his dramatic TV roles, does a good job here leading the cast of one of the more contrived Broadway productions of recent years. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michael J. Edelman
Great broadway show that I always wanted to see. Turns out, I was able to see the show at a local university a few months after watching the video. Classic show.Published 9 months ago by groupworker
i just don't like Sondheim. negative backbiting and nno music to rescue the plot.Published 9 months ago by B. Burge