In late June (just before Pride…hmm) New York City hosts starry concert versions of two middle-period Stephen Sondheim masterpieces: Follies and A Little Night Music. As a prelude, Chris’s Cache reaches back to early Sondheim for pirates of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Anyone Can Whistle.

Offered are live recordings of Sondheim’s first two solo (as both composer and lyricist) Broadway shows: Forum arrived in 1962, Anyone briefly two years later. After Anyone flopped, it would be six years before he returned to Broadway with Company.

I have, of course, seen the famous Forum movie with Zero Mostel and Buster Keaton(!), but I’ve never attended a live performance of the show. Phil Silvers, who played Lycus in the film, moves to the leading role of Pseudolus for this pre-Broadway touring production recorded in Los Angeles.

Encores! did Anyone in April 2010 with Donna Murphy, Sutton Foster, and Raul Esparza and it was pretty wonderful. It’s a crazy show about crazies with many great things and many problems, but it includes one of Sondheim’s most powerfully moving songs.

A conflict prevented me from going to the recent MasterVoices presentation of Anyone, but a recording of it eventually found its way into my collection.

Sondheim: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Domina: Lizabeth Pritchett
Philia: Pamela Hall
Pseudolus: Phil Silvers
Hysterium: Larry Blyden
Senex: Lew Parker
Hero: John Hansen
Lycus: Carl Ballantine
Erronius: Reginald Owen
Miles Gloriosus: Carl Lindstrom

Conductor: Jack Lee
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
October/November 1971
In-house recording

Sondheim: Anyone Can Whistle

Narrator: Joanna Gleason
Cora Hoover Hooper: Vanessa Williams
Faye Apple: Elizabeth Stanley
Bowden Hapgood: Santino Fantana
Comptroller Shub: Douglass Sills
Treasurer Cooley: Eddie Cooper
Police Commissioner Magruder: Michael Mulheren

Conductor: Ted Sperling
Carnegie Hall
10 March 2022
In-house recording

Anyone can download Forum and Anyone by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

Never miss an episode of Chris’s Cache! Subscribe to this podcast via Apple Podcasts or RSS.

Photo: Nina Westervelt