Theater Preview: STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S “FINISHING THE HAT” (Poetry in America Live)

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by Tony Frankel on June 6, 2020

in Extras,Theater-New York


This has been a milestone year for America: but aside from an epidemic and protests — and all that is entailed therein — we have Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday to celebrate. Until we can rejoin the masses to enjoy Sondheim’s works in person, there are events recorded live and shown on a computer, phone, or TV near you. This Friday, June 12, at 3:00 p.m. EST, join host Elisa New of PBS’s terrific program Poetry in America for an episode centering on the lyrics of Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat” from his 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George.

Presented by The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture — the arts center of the Archdiocese of New York — Ms. New’s panel consists of singer Melissa Errico, who is not only one of our greatest interpreters of Sondheim’s songs (see our review of her Sublime Sondheim CD), she’s super-smart and witty (like the Master himself). Also on board will be New Yorker staff writer and author Adam Gopnik. The ridiculously gifted musical director Tedd Firth will accompany Ms. Errico, who starred in Sunday in the Park at The Kennedy Center, as she performs three songs from Sunday, including “Finishing the Hat.”

Every episode of Poetry in America offers a fully immersive experience in hearing, reading, and discussing a single American poem by gathering distinguished interpreters from all walks of life to explore and debate unforgettable American works. Athletes, poets, politicians, musicians, architects, scientists, actors, entrepreneurs, and citizens of all ages join together host and Harvard professor New to experience and share the power of poetry. The only difference here is that the panelists will be streamed from the safe environs of their homes.

For those who are freaking out that you will be unable to catch it live on Friday afternoon, The Sondheim episode will be available after its recording time on YouTube (link above) and online at The Sheen Center.

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