We've been hearing off and on about a new revue of Stephen Sondheim's work with the unbearably precious name iSondheim. The show is being compiled and directed by James Lapine, longtime Sondheim collaborator.
The show was originally supposed to run at Atlanta's Alliance Theater this past April and May, but that production was canceled because of the projected production costs and the weak economy. As the awful title implies, iSondheim was to have included a great deal of technology -- multimedia, video, projections, etc. -- featuring interviews with Sondheim himself, intermingled with live performances of songs from Sondheim's career. But the production requirements apparently made the show untenable for a regional, non-profit run in the middle of a recession.
More recently, there's been chatter on the Rialto about a New York run for iSondheim, under the auspices of the Roundabout Theater, and starring none other than the glorious Barbara Cook, who would be making her first appearance in a non-concert, non-benefit Broadway show in nearly forty frickin' years. The show would also feature two additional singers, yet to be cast. The wonderful Liz Callaway was supposed to have starred in the Alliance run. Wouldn't it be great to see her treading the boards again? Perhaps with her equally marvelous sister, Ann Hampton Callaway?
However, iSondheim seems to have hit a bit of a snag, according to Michael Riedel's column today in the New York Post. Apparently, Mr. Sondheim himself isn't happy with the revenue percentage that the Roundabout wants from any future touring company of the show. Something tells me Steve is going to get his way; it would seem that the Roundabout needs this show -- financially and artistically -- a lot more than Sondheim needs the Roundabout. The good news is that the iSondheim name, according to Riedel, is very likely to change. He mentions that both Virtual Sondheim and Sondheim on Sondheim have been under consideration as replacement titles, although neither seems to be much an improvement.
Here's hoping that the differing parties iron out their differences so that we can all get to see both Stephen Sondheim and Barbara Cook back on Broadway where they belong.