The top 10 Stephen Sondheim numbers – as voted for by you
We asked you to name your favourite Sondheim numbers – and here are the results!
We once asked you to vote for your favourite Sondheim numbers – here are the results!
We have to admit we're shocked by some of the omissions from the public vote – no "Ladies who Lunch", no "Rose's Turn"! But It just shows how incredible Sondheim is that there is so much choice.
10. "Getting Married Today" from Company
What a way to kick off the top ten – a frantic, exciting number that perfectly dissects the nature of commitment and married life, as well as the roles of men and women in matrimony. You can listen to it above.
9. "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd
One of the showstopping moments from Sweeney Todd is when the bloodthirstily pragmatic Mrs Lovett convinces Sweeney to start disposing of victims in an inventively culinary way. Sondheim is a master lyricist and some of his best work is on display here.
8. "I'm Still Here" from Follies
The first from Follies on this list, "I'm Still Here" is Sondheim at his most comedic. It's no surprise that the number got Tracie Bennett an Olivier Award nomination, she absolutely owns it.
7. "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods
Into the Woods is an epic, kaleidoscopic musical that can go from the gargantuan to the magically intimate in a matter of minutes. None of that is better encapsulated than in "Children Will Listen", which comes in at number seven.
6. "Not A Day Goes By" from Merrily We Roll Along
Merrily We Roll Along did not fare well when it first landed on Broadway, but like any mould-breaking musical it has since gone on to be treasured as a classic, with a film version coming soon(ish). This mournful, quiet number does what Sondheim does so well – capturing the messy, emotional, fraught lives that all of us lead.
5. "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George
Now two back-to-back numbers from Sunday in the Park with George, which had been scheduled to open in the West End in 2020 with Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford – but hasn't materialised yet. Sondheim has long been fascinated with obsessive artists and their psyches, and Finishing the Hat makes that painstakingly clear.
4. "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park with George
The second number from Sunday is well, "Sunday", and funnily enough Sondheim also turns 90 on a...Sunday. The number ends with one of the best visual flourishes of any musical, as character Georges assembles his mighty canvas with actual on-stage figures.
3. "Losing My Mind" from Follies
A woeful, sad ballad that looks at love lost and lingering, Follies was recently revived twice at the National Theatre with Dominic Cooke at the helm. Imelda Staunton and Joanna Riding both played the part of Sally in that revival – you can listen to Staunton's performance above.
2. "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music
There really ought to be clowns on this list and thankfully they've made an appearance – in at number two. Judi Dench's iconic performance of the number is a radiant 4 minutes of melancholy, poise and beauty – you can listen to it here.
1. "Being Alive" from Company
And there you have it, maybe it was the post-Marriage Story hype but the number one number is "Being Alive", the epic closing piece from Company. We're still pretty blown away by Rosalie Craig's rendition that was part of the recent West End revival – you can listen to it above.