Old Friends Sondheim

Stage Spy: Sondheim Tribute ‘Old Friends’ to be televised?

The big Stephen Sondheim tribute concert Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends is in its final rehearsals, ready for its big night tonight (3 May 2022).

Organised by Cameron Mackintosh, the benefit concert at the Sondheim Theatre in London will see a host of Sondheim celebs sing his songs and celebrate his life. The live show will also be transmitted live over to the Prince Edward Theatre, for a special screening (tickets are still available for this).

Such are talent rights, Mackintosh had to get special permission from the cast to do the Prince Edward screening. Whilst he’s at it, did he also seek permission to screen the concert on TV or streaming?

That’s the hint he gave celebrity journalist Baz Bamigboye, who has recently jumped ship from tabloid Daily Mail to entertainment industry trade website Deadline. He told Baz that it may end up on TV, albeit with negotiations with agents having to take place. “They’re [the cast] all working for nothing aside from expenses. Look, there is a possibility of further life, we’ll see”, Cameron said.

Choreographer of the show, Matthew Bourne, also confirmed on Instagram that the producers of the show are looking at screen options for the Sondheim gala. He said that, “The production was designed as a fundraiser for the new Sondheim Foundation supporting young writers and artists. For it to reach a wider audience through broadcast, streaming or DVD it would require a re- negotiation with everyone involved but hopefully that may happen at some point so more people can share in this glorious and historic evening! I really hope that everyone gets the chance to see this. It was very special.”

Here’s hoping. Seems crazy to live stream it and not also press “RECORD” so fans (AND WE MEAN US) can watch it at some point.

The cast line-up is phenomenal, with theatrical royalty such as Dame Judi Dench, Julia McKenzie and Bernadette Peters providing tributes, plus big-hitters such as Michael Ball, Helena Bonham Carter, Janie Dee, Maria Friedman, Haydn Gwynne, Imelda Staunton and A LOT more.

Check out our updated post on all things Old Friends here including video of rehearsals.

In the UK? Watch Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends on BBC iPlayer – here.

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