Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stephen Sondheim Film Festival, Dec 4 - 5

Toronto will be visited by Stephen Sondheim on Monday, December 6. Prior to his arrival, Mirvish Productions is presenting a group of his films at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. West, at Bathurst St.) in a Stephen Sondheim Film Festival. Each film will be introduced by an expert including Toronto theatre critics Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star and Robert Cushman of the National Post.

The screenings will also giveaways and prizes, such as tickets to Monday's An Evening with Stephen Sondheim, or tickets to the Stratford production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Stephen Sondheim Film Festival

Tickets are no longer available for purchase online, but can be purchased in person at the Bloor Cinema. the box office Opens 1 hour showtime.

In anticipation of the rare Toronto visit of Stephen Sondheim, acknowledged as the greatest living composer/lyricist of musical dramatic works, Mirvish Productions is presenting four film adaptations of the master’s stage works. Screening at the Bloor Cinema on December 4 and 5, 2010, the Sondheim Film Festival includes rare showings of films that have long been out of circulation, including the controversial film of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and the revolutionary adaptation of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

Each film will be introduced by a Sondheim expert, who will add context to the works and provide background information.

Saturday December 4 at 4PM,
introduced by Joel Greenberg

Winner of 10 Oscars, WEST SIDE STORY is considered one of the greatest movie musicals of all time. But before it was a film it was a landmark Broadway musical. Among its breakthroughs was the establishment of the young lyricist Stephen Sondheim as the leading light of his generation. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see this masterpiece on the big screen as it was intended to be.

Saturday December 4 at 7PM,
introduced by Robert Cushman

(2007) PG

Considered by many as Stephen Sondheim’s best work, SWEENEY TODD was thought too “stagey” a musical to ever make it as a film. Then came along the iconoclastic Tim Burton, who had seen and fallen in love with the original London stage production of the musical when he was a struggling film student. The result is a thrilling and affective work that feels as though it was meant to be a film and nothing but a film. See it again on the big screen and marvel at the marriage of Sondheim and Burton, together as they were always meant to be.

SUNDAY December 5 at 4PM,

 (1966) PG

Notable as being the first musical with both music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, FORUM was a smash hit on Broadway. The film adaptation, directed by the brilliant British director Richard Lester, who had previous revolutionized cinema with the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, is a thrill-and-laugh-a-minute anachronistic ride. Starring a who’s who of musical comedy – Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford – the film also features a young Michael Crawford and Buster Keaton is a hilarious and touching performance. Long forgotten, this gem hasn’t been seen on a Toronto screen in decades.

SUNDAY December 5 at 7PM,
introduced by LYNN SLOTKIN
(1977) PG 

One of only two films directed by Broadway legend (and longtime Sondheim collaborator) Harold Prince, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC was considered a flop when it was originally released. Yet this adaptation of the Broadway musical (itself adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles Of A Summer Night), was lots to recommend it, included an Oscar-winning score and performances from such stage and film greats as Len Cariou, Diana Rigg and Hermione Gingold. Then there’s the beautiful Lesley-Anne Down in one of her early film roles and the seemingly immortal Elizabeth Taylor, who gets to sing the famous ballad Send In The Clowns – that alone is worth the price of admission. Presented here in an imported new print from Europe.

At each screening there will be prizes galore, including:

- Tickets to An Evening with Stephen Sondheim, a one-night-only stage talk/interview with the master on Monday December 6 at the Princess of Wales Theatre.- Tickets to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, playing December 15 to January 16, 2011 at the Canon Theatre.
- Copies of the newly published and critically acclaimed new book by Stephen Sondheim, Finishing The Hat (Knopf).
Advance tickets to the Sondheim Film Festival are $5 for each screening, available by phone at 416-872-1212 or online
A pass to all four films is also available for only $15 – by phone only at 416-872-1212.
Tickets will also be available at the Bloor Cinema door, 506 Bloor St. West, at Bathurst St. Matinees are $5 per screening and evening screenings are $7 each.  

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