Review: HBO’s “Six by Sondheim”

If you haven’t enjoyed HBO’s most recent documentary, Six by Sondheim, I fully recommend watching it.  The documentary traces Stephen Sondheim’s childhood all the way through his most recent accomplishments as composer, lyricist, and writer.  It begins with his childhood, details his most well-known, and some lesser known, successes and “failures” of his career, even touches upon his personal life, and gives an in-depth look at the person behind the music that had never before been documented in this way.  It pieces together interviews over his career, as he narrates and adds previously unheard details and stories.  One particularly interesting aspect was the focus on his relationship with “surrogate father” Oscar Hammerstein which was a great and moving story.  Another amazing choice by the filmmakers was to include a few renditions of his work.  When A Little Night Music and “Send in the Clowns” are discussed, a medley plays of many of the artists who have recorded it in the form of a youtube player screen, and then Audra McDonald sings an amazingly beautiful rendition of the song.  Even if you do not enjoy any other part of the documentary, her rendition of the song makes it entirely worth the watch! Jeremy Jordan, America Ferrera, Laura Osnes and Darren Criss also perform “Opening Doors” (in two parts, the second of which Sondheim himself is in) from Merrily We Roll Along and it is very well done and worth a watch.  Overall I highly recommend watching the documentary, regardless of whether or not you are a musical lover. 

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