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Original Cast Album: “Company”​

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This holy grail for both documentary and theater aficionados offers a tantalizingly rare glimpse behind the Broadway curtain. In 1970, right after the triumphant premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking concept musical Company, the renowned composer and lyricist, his director Harold Prince, the show’s stars, and a large pit orchestra all went into a Manhattan recording studio as part of a time-honored Broadway tradition: the recording of the original cast album. What ensued was a marathon session in which, with the pressures of posterity and the coolly exacting Sondheim’s perfectionism hanging over them, all involved pushed themselves to the limit—including theater legend Elaine Stritch, who fought anxiety and exhaustion to record her iconic rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch.” With thrilling immediacy, legendary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker offers an up-close view of the larger-than-life personalities, frayed-nerve energy, and explosive creative intensity that go into capturing the magic of live performance.<br />

FILM INFO​

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  • <br />
  • United States<br />
  • 1970<br />
  • 53 minutes<br />
  • Color<br />
  • 1.33:1<br />
  • English<br />
  • Spine #1090<br />
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES​

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  • <br />
  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by Chris Hegedus and Nate Pennebaker, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray<br />
  • New audio commentary by composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim<br />
  • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring director D. A. Pennebaker, actor Elaine Stritch, and Broadway producer Harold Prince<br />
  • New conversation among Sondheim, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick, and critic Frank Rich<br />
  • New interview with Tunick on the art of orchestrating, conducted by author Ted Chapin<br />
  • Never-before-heard audio excerpts from interviews with Stritch and Prince, conducted by D. A. Pennebaker and Hegedus in 2000<br />
  • “Original Cast Album: ‘Co-Op,’” a 2019 episode of the TV series Documentary Now! that parodies the film<br />
  • Reunion of the cast and crew of “Original Cast Album: ‘Co-Op’” recorded in 2020, featuring director Alexander Buono; writer-actor John Mulaney; actors Rénee Elise Goldsberry, Richard Kind, Alex Brightman, and Paula Pell; and composer Eli Bolin<br />
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing<br />
  • PLUS: An essay by author Mark Harris<br />
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New cover by Raphael Geroni<br />

PURCHASE OPTIONS​

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Coming soon, available Aug 17, 2021<br />
BLU-RAY1 Disc$27.96SRP: $39.95<br />
DVD1 Disc$20.96SRP: $29.95<br />

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Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases

 
Last edited:

Jake Lipson

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The original DVD of this has been out of print since before I knew what it was, so I've never owned it before. I am so glad Criterion is bringing it back in print. I would buy this even in a barebones edition, so the fact that they have done their usual extensive job with bonus features is gravy. I can't wait to get this. It will be one of the rare Criterions that I get on street date instead of waiting for a sale.

Incidentally, James Lapine's new book on the creation of Sunday in the Park with George is also being released in August, so that's a lot of new Sondheim-related content in a very short period of time.
 

Bernard McNair

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Sondheim is my favourite living composer and I have been fortunate enough to see many productions over the years. I have had the DVD of this recording session for many years and will be pleased to update. This documentary is one of the great records of a theatre event. Thank you, Criterion.
 

bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
For lyrics, Sondheim (although Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter are close)

However for composing - Gershwin.
OK.
However, I was responding to the poster that called Sondheim his favorite living composer, assuming he meant composer of musicals. Alas, Gershwin stopped qualifying for that honor some time ago.
 

Matt Hough

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Incidentally, James Lapine's new book on the creation of Sunday in the Park with George is also being released in August, so that's a lot of new Sondheim-related content in a very short period of time.
I did not know about any upcoming book, so this bit of information made my day. Thanks so much!
 

Mike Frezon

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+ 1 composer bar none.

For lyrics, Sondheim (although Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter are close)

However for composing - Gershwin.
I appreciate Sondheim as much as the next guy. But my pick is OH II.

I have the DVD of this. I will then have the Blu-ray of this. This film captures lightning in a bottle.
 

Jake Lipson

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I did not know about any upcoming book, so this bit of information made my day. Thanks so much!

You might want to use an HTF affiliate link to actually buy this -- I don't know how to make those -- but here is the link to James Lapine's book so you (and anyone else interested) know what you're looking for. Release date is August 3.

Amazon product
 

John Maher_289910

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I actually blame Sondheim for ruining Broadway musicals. I did see COMPANY the week it opened, and while I didn't like it, I was thoroughly impressed with Dean Jones, and even bought the album. PBS aired the film of the recording, and I loved that way more than the show itself. I've never owned it, so it's time to remedy that.