Judi Dench was given a standing ovation for Send in The Clowns. Bernadette Peters bent over with her back to the audience and with her head between her legs blasted her trumpet to You Gotta Get A Gimmick.
Petula Clark, 89, belted out I’m Still Here, and Imelda Staunton set off a huge ovation with Everything’s Coming Up Roses.
What the four had in common was devotion to Stephen Sondheim, the groundbreaking Broadway composer and lyricist who died in November last year at the age of 91. Dozens of stars of musical theater on Tuesday night gathered for a celebration titled “Old Friends” to raise money for the Stephen Sondheim Foundation, which would benefit young composers.
“He always considered London his second home,” producer Cameron Mackintosh, who organized the event, told the sellout crowd of about 1,100 at a theater renamed the Sondheim from the Queen’s in 2019.
“He brilliantly has left his incredible legacy of work to the support of future generations of artists through his foundation,” Mackintosh said.
Lending drama to the evening, only the scheduled songs were included in the program, with the identities of the attached singers provided to the audience only as people filed out.
There was a minimal set and some cast members were costumed during a flowing program that showcased Sondheim’s Tony, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning work.
Peters, 74, who created the roles of Dot in Sunday in the Park with George and the witch in Into the Woods, made a dramatic entrance cloaked in a cape as Little Red Riding Hood to Damian Lewis’ Wolf.
Marshaling her voice for drama and impact, Peters was included in eight of the 40 selections sung over 2 hours and 45 minutes, most notably a Losing My Mind rendition that left some of the audience in tears.
Dench, reprising what many consider the definitive version of Sondheim’s most-well known song, stumbled over some of the words, but still created an indelible performance. The 87-year-old, who has limited vision, was helped to her chair for her performance.
Julia McKenzie, whom Mackintosh said had not appeared on stage in 24 years, returned at age 81 to join ensembles for Side by Side and Not A Day Goes By, and a 10-woman rendition of Broadway Baby that included Helena Bonham Carter, Rosalie Craig and Jenna Russell, as well as Gary Wilmot.
Tickets were priced at ￡75 to ￡1,250 (US$94 to US$1,564) and the program was simulcast to the Prince Edward Theatre a few blocks away, leaving a recording that could be released if permissions are secured.
As young singers joined the full company for the concluding Our Time, Peters crossed the stage exchanging hugs as confetti fell and Dench appeared to be holding back tears. The performance seemed as memorable for the cast as for the audience.
A glimpse of a possible Picasso in the home of Imelda Marcos filmed during a visit by her son after his presidential election win has set off a flurry of speculation in the Philippines, where the family that once plundered billions is set to return to power. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the late dictator, won a landslide victory in Monday’s presidential election, an outcome that has appalled those who survived his father’s regime. Images released by the family showed Marcos Jr visiting the home of his mother, who had displayed Picasso’s Femme Couche VI (Reclining Woman VI),
The images of a besuited Ferdinand Marcos Jr, clad in a top hat and leaning nonchalantly on a Rolls-Royce, dating from his time in Britain in the 1970s, are as you might expect from the playboy scion of a kleptocratic dictator. Yet as the Marcos family returns to power in the Philippines after a landslide presidential victory by Marcos Jr, he is facing calls to stop misrepresenting the circumstances of his studies at the University of Oxford. The university has confirmed that he did not complete his degree in philosophy, politics and economics after enrolling in 1975. “According to our records, he did
HATE CRIME: Officials were investigating a detailed ‘manifesto’ posted online before the livestreamed shooting, in which the suspect outlined his reasoning and plans A heavily armed 18-year-old white man on Saturday shot 10 people dead at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store in a “racially motivated” attack that he livestreamed on camera, authorities said. The gunman, who was wearing body armor and a helmet, was arrested after the massacre, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news conference. Gramaglia put the toll at 10 dead and three wounded. Eleven of the victims were African Americans. The gunman shot four people in the parking lot of the Tops supermarket, three of them fatally, then went inside and continued firing, Gramaglia said. Among those killed inside the store was
‘UNITED AS ONE’: Photos showed people working on farms or walking in a North Korean town, indicating that a lockdown does not require people to stay home North Korea yesterday imposed a nationwide lockdown to control its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak after saying for more than two years that it had a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world. The size of the outbreak was not immediately known, but it could have serious consequences, because the country has a poor healthcare system and its 26 million people are believed to be mostly unvaccinated against COVID-19. Some experts say that the North, by its admission of an outbreak, might be seeking outside aid. The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that