QuaranTune #21: "Being Alive" from Company
A show tune a day keeps the quarantine blues at bay...
Today's #QuaranTune is a Stephen Sondheim classic with lyrics that speak directly to the hearts of those of us self-isolating alone during the current lockdown. It's also a belated 90th Birthday celebration tribute from the New York Theatre Guide to one of Broadway's most-cherished composers.
"Being Alive" debuted in the 1970 Broadway musical Company and although the show tune was not Sondheim's first attempt at writing a closing number to the musical — it was actually the composer's fourth — it has become the optimistic finale to the show, so revered by Sondheim aficionados across the globe. The musical's score also picked up the Tony Awards for 'Best Lyrics' and 'Best Original Score' back in 1971 and "Being Alive" has been famously performed by male greats from Dean Jones to Raúl Esparza and Neil Patrick Harris over the years.
But in 2018, under the direction of Marianne Elliott and with the blessing of Sondheim himself, it was time for a woman to be given the honors of performing the song during a high-profile West End revival. The leading male role of Bobby was gender-switched to a leading female role named Bobbie and it fell to Olivier Award nominee Rosalie Craig to deliver the goods. After the show's phenomenal success in London, picking up four Olivier Awards (including 'Best Musical Revival'), a Broadway transfer was greenlit with Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk taking over the role of Bobbie. That production began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on March 2, 2020, with Broadway legend Patti LuPone reprising her Olivier Award-winning performance as Joanne, but never officially opened due to the current Broadway shutdown.
We are keeping everything crossed that we get to experience Ms. Lenk's take on the character, when the New York theater community finally reopens its doors. But until then... Phone rings, door chimes, in comes Rosalie Craig with her performance of "Being Alive" from the 2019 Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall... and a fabulous introduction by Ms. LuPone to boot!
Somebody crowd me with love. Somebody force me to care. Somebody let me come through, I'll always be there, as frightened as you, to help us survive, being alive.
Company Tickets are available now.
(Photo by Brinkhoff/Moegenburg)