NEW YORK – The late Stephen Sondheim's last stage musical — an adaptation of two films by Spanish surrealist director Luis Buñuel — will be given an off-Broadway stage this year, offering theatergoers a chance to see a new work by musical theater’s most venerated composer.
“Here We Are” — once known as “Square One” — will begin performances this September at The Shed’s Griffin Theater with a book by David Ives, best known for the play “Venus in Fur.” Joe Mantello, who helmed “Wicked” and Sondheim's “Assassins,” will direct.
The show — based on the films “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “The Exterminating Angel” — was initially workshopped in 2016 with plans for a production at The Public Theater, which did not happen.
The two source films have a connective tissue: In “The Exterminating Angel,” a group of guests arrive for a dinner party and cannot leave, while "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” is about guests who constantly arrive for dinner but are never able to eat.
Ticket information and casting will be announced soon.
Sondheim, who died in 2021, influenced several generations of songwriters, particularly with such landmark musicals as “Company,” “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd.”
Six of Sondheim’s musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he also received a Pulitzer Prize (“Sunday in the Park”), an Academy Award (for the song “Sooner or Later” from the film “Dick Tracy”), five Olivier Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 2008, he received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement.
His last new musical to be produced was “Road Show,” which reunited Sondheim and writer John Weidman and spent years being worked on. This tale of the Mizner brothers, who embarked on get-rich schemes in the early part of the 20th century, finally made it to the Public Theater in 2008 with poor reviews after going through several different titles, directors and casts.
Several Sondheim musicals have been mounted on Broadway since the master's death, including a Tony-award winning revival of “Company” and a current revival of his “Sweeney Todd,” starring Josh Groban.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits