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Six by Sondheim

2013

NR CC

Explore the life and career of renowned Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim through six of his best-known songs.

Starring:
Barbara Barrie, Charles Braswell
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director James Lapine, Autumn de Wilde, Todd Haynes
Starring Barbara Barrie, Charles Braswell
Supporting actors Susan Browning, Glenn Close, Jarvis Cocker, George Coe, Darren Criss, John Cunningham, Yvonne De Carlo, Judi Dench, Steve Elmore, America Ferrera, George Hearn, Jackie Hoffman, Beth Howland, Hugh Jackman, Glynis Johns, Dean Jones, Jeremy Jordan, Larry Kert
Studio HBO
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 19, 2014
Format: DVD
My friend Joe sent me this recent HBO documentary (directed by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine) and it is wonderful. In this 86-minute video there are so many highlights that I can't mention them all, but some of my favorites are of Sondheim holding forth on various talk shows ca. 1970 in his first flush of national TV publicity, vintage clips of Ethel Merman and Larry Kert, a generous montage of vocalists covering "Send In the Clowns," a goodish portion of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG that appears to have been filmed for this documentary but edited to mirror the comments Sondheim is making, and also the original cast recording from COMPANY of "Being Alive," as sung by Dean Jones. But the star of the show is Sondheim himself: what experience has taught him, his seminal influences, the agony and ectasy of writing lyrics, and the fundamental role of teachers and teaching in his life. I've seen a fair number of bios, Q&A and making-of dealing with Stephen Sondheim's long and productive life; this may well be the best. Well worth the money, or as a present for the Sondheim aficionado in your life. Thanks, Joe!
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An absolute must for Sondheim fans, this extraordinary documentary also should be required viewing for all fans of musical theatre. Ostensibly a look into how the master created six of his most famous songs, "Six by Sondheim" goes much further, offering us insight not only into the evolution of Sondheim as composer/lyricist, but also into the creation of some of the most important works in musical theatre history. Interviews with Sondheim filmed over the course of several decades are brilliantly intercut., providing an evolving insight into this unique artist.
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A truly must-see. The extensive commentary by the master is wonderful, as is the marvelous historical footage. It must have been quite difficult to chose what to include, but the producers and director did a fabulous job. If you like Sondheim, you'll love this.
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Six by Sondheim claims to focus on just six of Sondheim's songs but we cover dozens of then. Jim Lapine is the mastermind behind this HBO production and the quality is top notch.
The entire narrative is given by Sondheim through dozens of archived interviews from 1958-2007 including an interview with Adam Guettle (Mary Rodgers' son; the next Sondheim.) in addition there is rare footage going back to a rehearsal of Larry Kert singing "Something's Coming", four Mama Roses, a beautifully staged "Opening Doors" done by Lapine for this documentary and countless private film clips and photos as well as the first good look inside Sondheim's Turtle Bay townhouse.
This is not just a documentary about Sondheim's work, but an 86 minute lesson by Sondheim, a man who has spent his life giving back what Hammerstein gave him. Sondheim is a shy man, uncomfortable with his superstardom but aware that he's on a par with Schubert and Bach, so he makes himself available. There is still no word on his current collaboration with David Ives though a little thought and imagination can make it clear.
This is a very satisfying film and delivers substantially more than anything prior, including Meryl Secrest's biography. The visuals and clips are dazzling and moving from watching Sondheim sing. "Foxtrot" to the cast of "Follies" to Sondheim playing Joe Josephson in Lapine's cinematic "Opening Doors."
This is a gem.
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Truly warm and insightful documentary about Sondheim as a lyricist and songwriter over the decades. Just hearing all the various versions of Send In the Clowns is worth the price of admission, but Sondheim himself is a fascinating storyteller (his anecdote about Ethel Merman and Loretta Young alone is hilarious) and always illuminating about his artistic process.
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Sondheim's comments are clear and explain so much about his superb work. And the brief appearances by some of the stars who performed his musicals add to the magic of the DVD. This is top-notch for anyone interested in theater and fine music. And Sondheim looms as the most charismatic songwriter imaginable. He is bright and understanding...and he accepts what he feels were failures and 'why' they didn't make it.
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The story of Stephen Sondheim is memorizing and full of happiness and some sadness concerning his life growing up... The interviews with him others is very interesting and honest. Seeing Darren Criss & Jeremy Jordon sing and reenact his life is an added bonus. I would recommend this as a viewing pleasure to any who call themselves a Broadway enthusiast
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The interviews are indispensable, of course, for any Sondheim buff. I take off one star for the utterly idiotic decision to let a talentless British rock musician to overact his way through "I'M STILL HERE" instead of preserving a performance by any one of the many talented Broadway ladies who could have performed the song to much better effect.
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