Opened: October 28, 1970
Directed by: D. A. Pennebaker
Starring: Stephen Sondheim, Thomas Z. Shepard, Harold Hastings, George Furth, Harold Prince, Dean Jones, Elaine Stritch, Barbara Barrie, George Coe, John Cunningham, Teri Ralston, Charles Kimbrough, Donna McKechnie, Charles Braswell, Susan Browning, Steve Elmore, Beth Howland, Pamela Myers & Merle Louise
In what was originally intended to be a television series of Broadway cast album recordings, Original Cast Album follows the grueling 15-hour recording session of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
The film crew doesn’t interrupt much with the actors or musicians and instead just brings you into the recording studio. Watching the artists collaborate and seeing their care for the music is what’s grasping.
With the show’s two defining solos – “Being Alive” and “The Ladies Who Lunch” – it’s a golden opportunity for theater fans to see Dean Jones and Elaine Stritch make their legacy. Stritch doesn’t even start recording her number until 3 a.m. and after eight takes – one of which is seen gloriously in its entirety – the production team decides to just record the orchestrations and bring her back another day for vocals.
Final say: A toast to this documentary. ★★★★★