A humorous, poignant and sophisticated musical "review," Putting It Together is a thematic celebration of the stage and screen work of multiple Tony Award-winner Stephen Sondheim, the foremost theatrical composer/lyricist ... more »of our time. Featuring an award-winning ensemble cast headed by the incomparable Carol Burnett, Putting It Together weaves a lyrical story around the emotions and relationships of five guests attending a Manhattan cocktail party, studded with material from a number of Sondheim's original musicals and films including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Dick Tracy, Into the Woods and Assassins.« less
"I love the fact that Cameron MacKintosh films his stage shows with several cameras at live performances. It's a much more rewording viewing experience than the attempt to recapture the theatre experience in a studio.Well, MacKintosh put it together once again, and we can all be glad of it! This is one of those very rare theatre treats in a time when theatre is tending to get more and more about less and less. The combination of Stephen Sondheim's music and the talents of the likes of Carol Burnett, George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall, John Barrowman and Bronson Pinchot is really more than a theatre enthusiast dare wish for, but it's all there on this DVD. If that weren't enough, we also get the extra treat of a little on-stage blooper that took place the evening this was filmed, which caused Burnett to literally stop the show. This is added as extra footage, which will have you falling on the floor laughing as it did John Barrowman.Carol Burnett shines through it all, but will reduce you to tears of laughter with her renditions of "Lovely" from "A Funny Thing Happened..." and "I'm not Getting Married Today" from "Company". That said, she also pulls of some very touching moments, such as "Old Friends" from "Merrily We Roll Along". Hearn's voice is still, despite his age, beautiful and strong. Ruthie Henshall wows you on several occasions, but especially with "More" from "Dick Tracey". John Barrowman, who tends at times to be stiff like a body-buider, overcomes this for the most part, and manages to pull off some difficult dancing and singing with a sweet charm that you would not normally associate with a man built like a football player. The surprise of the evening is Bronson Pinchot in his first musical role. That he is a talented, slapstick comedian is known since he starred in "Blame it on the Bellboy", but who would have thought that he could sing, too! He has the timing and agility of Charley Chaplin with the grace and style of Fred Astaire. Somebody please make this guy a huge star before we all go through menopause!If you love musical theatre and Stephen Sondheim's music, then this is an absolute "MUST"!"
Putting It Together - Another Sondheim Songfest
Stephen Halpin | Orlando, FL United States | 02/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Take the songs of Stephen Sondheim and put them together into a revue format with really no storyline to propel them and you have Putting It Together. Another in a long line of Sondeim Revues. This production is a reworked version of an earlier incarnation that starred Julie Andrews several years back. This time the cast includes Carol Burnett, George Hern, John Barrowman and Ruthie Henshall and Bronson Pinchot.Burnett and Hearn play an older married couple to Barrowman and Henshall's younger couple intracting at a cocktail party. The two couples sing with each other, with their spouse and solo. Pinchot comments and introduces each section of songs with usually one word like "Love". The songs themselves usually comment on the persons state of mind or observation on that subject and can go from funny to poignant. Each of the leads has their moment the spotlight and each shines brightly. Sondheim has commented that each of his songs is like its own little play and his melodies can be haunting. His words can often be complex and may require multiple listenings to really appreciate what they have to offer. Watch how sometimes the singers words and the music tell two different stories.It is great to see Burnett return to her roots on stage and Hearn, a veteren of Sondheim musicals, is in fine voice. Barrowman and Henshall are better known for their work in Britian but are great as well. Pinchot can sing and while his in and out of scenes can get annoying, he keeps things moving. The big question I guess is: Who would enjoy this DVD? This is a must have for any diehard Sondheim fan or collector of Broadway Musicals. I think the average viewer might have trouble staying focused after awhile as there is only so much Sondheim a person can digest, especially without a story to connect with. Even this Sondheim fan,who knew all the songs, got distracted after awhile. Burnett fans should beware, this is not the Carol Burnett of her variety series. She is excellent in this but is more reserved than you may be used to seeingFilmed in front of an audience over several performances, it is nice to see that producers are filming musicals for home viewing. This way many of us can see some great performances and shows that we might not have been able to otherwise. One of the highlights of the DVD is the extra scene where Carol Burnett loses her skirt at the opening of Act 2 during one of the days of filming. Very funny and very Carol Burnett."
A revue with a plot. Imagine that.
M. G ORELL | RANDOLPH, MA USA | 08/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the people who brought you the live taping of Jekyll and Hyde starring David Hasselhoff comes a new live taping. It's Stephen Sondheim's Putting It Together. Every moment is memorable from the moment Bronson Pinchot opens the show by telling us that he's been replaced by Regis Philbin to the End Credits. The musical is about 5 people at a cocktail party. An old couple (played by Broadway legends Carol Burnett, of Annie fame, and George Hearn, who recently did Sweeney Todd in Concert)host the party. The guests are a younger couple (played by John Barrowman and the amazing Ruthie Henshall, who is known for her performance as Fantine in Les Miserables in Concert) and a man who is simply known as the Observer. He shows us what kind of themes are in a show by Sondheim such as Seduction or Happiness. There are a lot of songs from many Sondheim plays and some from the movie, Dick Tracy. Sadly, there is only one song from my ultimate favorite Sondheim musical, Into the Woods. It's playing on Broadway. The only song is Hello Little Girl, which is played as a sexual encounter. Of course, it's being played as a sexual encounter on Broadway as well. There are some songs that were cut from some Sondheim musicals such as My Husband, the Pig, which was cut from A Little Night Music. I noticed that most of the title song, except for the first two verses, had been rewritten. My only complaints are that during the title song, George Hearn's microphone goes out. Now that's an onstage blooper. Plus, they didn't show the Entr'acte. Instead, they jumped right to the first song of the second act. Mind you, this might have all been filmed in one night. It might have possibly been the night that the onstage blooper occured. In case anyone's wondering, the onstage blooper was not Carol Burnett messing up in a song. They had started the second act. Every thing was going fine until Carol Burnett told the conductor to stop. Then, she pulled up her skirt and said, "You know what's about to happen?" Then, she let go of her skirt and it fell to the ground. One of the straps broke. John Barrowman was laughing and yelling, "Please tell me you got that on tape." Your wish came true, Johnny. The onstage blooper also incorporates the lost Entr'acte, which is an instrumental of You Could Drive A Person Crazy. Plus, the role of the Wife has not only been played by Carol Burnett but by her dear friend, Julie Andrews. That was in London. One more thing. Putting It Together is actually the sequel to another Sondheim revue called Side By Side By Sondheim"
A classy and elegant production
Tristin Marie Wayte | New Westminster, British Columbia Canada | 04/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was riveted to this production, from Bronson Pinchot's opening number, to a stunning ensemble finale of "Being Alive"...which was beautifully arranged and orchestrated. I'm a big Sondheim fan, and this is an absolute must for anybody who appreciates this musical theatre giant. The DVD is terrific quality, and includes a really funny on-stage blooper, and an interview with Carole Burnett.The performances were all very good, but Ruthie Henshall and John Barrowman steal the show as the young couple. Both are stunning to watch, and their voices soar. Ruthie shines in "Sooner or Later". John Barrowman sings "Pretty Women", and in a surprising twist, takes the character Sweeney Todd's part, while George Hearn takes the back seat and sings the judges' part. Carole Burnett demonstrates her wicked comedic talent in a slowed-down version of "Getting MArried Today", but also shows dramatic depth in "Could I Leave You?" and "Everyday a Little Death". Vocally, she's not as strong as the other cast members, but it is forgivable. George Hearn and Bronson Pinchot were the weaker links in the production. George Hearn reverted to talk singing too much for my liking, although when he decided to sing properly, he was in fine voice. Bronson Pinchot has less opportunity to shine than the rest of the cast members. Overall, an excellent DVD, highly recommended."
Lovely, what it is is lovely
Jason Flum | East Windsor, NJ United States | 03/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my new favorite DVD. I was lucky enough to see Putting It Together on Broadway (although Pinchot was out that night) and have been waiting eagerly for this DVD ever since. One important note - if you don't like Sondheim, I could see this getting boring easily. However, if you consider Sondheim to be the greatest living writer for musical theater (and maybe even all time) then you can't miss this DVD. The performances are spectacular. Who cares if there's no plot really? When you've got Pinchot's "Buddy's Blues," Hearn's "Good Thing Going," Barrowman's "Marry Me A Little" and Burnett's "Getting Married Today" all in a row, who could be blue? Don't think I forgot about Henshall either - she, for some reason, isn't in that segment (couldn't she have sung "Miller's Son?") but shines earlier with "More" and in my favorite song in the show, "Unworthy of Your Love" with Barrowman. If nothing else, the DVD is worth buying for the blooper -- it is truly hilarious - I wish I was in the audience THAT night! What more can I say? Buy this DVD."