Sondheim biographer and columnist David Benedict suggests his top eight Sondheim songs to singalong to during isolation…
The glorious strippers’ number from the 1962 film of Gypsy.
Elaine Stritch is to this song in Company what Edith Evans was to “A handbag?” in The Importance Of Being Earnest. This 1971 TV performance with piano accompaniment is incredibly powerful.
The internet is riddled with divas trying their hand at Carlotta’s hymn to survival in Follies. For my money, Tracie Bennett in Dominic Cooke’s magnificent National Theatre revival is pretty much unbeatable. It’s not just a list, it’s a ruthless, emotional journey of self-assessment.
The icing on the cake of the wonder that was Paddington 2 was Hugh Grant’s utterly unexpected prison performance of the Follies number Rain on the Roof.
Judi Dench’s unsentimental sadness, live from the BBC Proms Sondheim’s 80th birthday tribute, is ideal for Sondheim’s most famous song.
Angela Lansbury delighted Sondheim at the 2011 Olivier Awards with a flawless, surprise performance of her number from the revival of A Little Night Music.
Sondheim wrote a new song for Meryl Streep to sing as the Witch in Into the Woods. Sadly, the number was cut. But here it is.
The man himself, at the piano at the end of the very first Sondheim gala. His emotion-choked speech and tender performance puts to rest foolish allegations that he is cold and cynical. This was March 11, 1973, just over 47 years ago.
Even Grace Jones’ pointless disco version of the same, much-recorded song pales beside the jaw-droppingly literal version by Twiggy and David Essex.
Read David Benedict’s columns every Wednesday at thestage.co.uk/author/david-benedict