STEPHEN SONDHEIM (b.1930)
Getting Married Today from Company (1970), 3 minutes
Stephen Sondheim was born on March 22, 1930 in New York City. Company was first performed on April 26, 1970 at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway. The song is scored for flute, oboe and english horn, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 tuba, timpani, chimes, drum-kit, piano, strings and voice.
Stephen Sondheim is widely considered the most innovative and influential composer and lyricist to grace Broadway history. Sondheim studied at George School in Pennsylvania, at Williams College in Massachusetts, and subsequently studied music theory and composition with Milton Babbitt. In total, Sondheim’s works have accumulated more than sixty Tony Awards, an Academy Award for Best Song and The Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1984.
1970’s Company was the winner of six Tony Awards, including a menu of Bests: Musical, Score, Lyrics and Book. The plot begins on the night of Robert’s (Bobby) 35th birthday, as he self examines his unmarried bachelor life. After a series of social gatherings, dinners, drinks and a wedding, Robert is made to face his bachelorhood as his cadre of friends, who include Paul, Amy and Jenny, explain the benefits and pitfalls of spousal-life.
“Getting Married Today” is sung on the morning of Paul and Amy’s wedding and Robert has the honor of best man. Amy, however, is caught in a panic attack. Jenny sings about the blessedness of the wedding day, and Paul contributes his blissful musings in ignorance. Amy frantically speaks that she’s not “Getting Married Today.” These spitfire verses are notoriously difficult to sing, requiring the soloist to speak a blazing sum of 96 words in under 10 seconds:
Pardon me, is everybody here?
Because if everybody's here
I'd like to thank you all
For coming to the wedding.
I'd appreciate you going even more
I mean, you must have lots of better things to do
And not a word of it to Paul
Remember Paul? You know, the man I'm going to marry
But I'm not, because I wouldn't ruin anything
As wonderful as he is.
Thank you all for the gifts and the flowers,
Thank you all, now it's back to the showers
Don't tell Paul, but I'm not getting married today.
The machine-gun-like execution will express with desperation, exasperation and psychosis, that contrary to title of the song, “no one” is getting married today. Amy eventually does confesses to Paul and he leaves visibly upset. Awkwardly, Robert asks Amy to marry him instead, but she refuses and comes to realize the true nature and value of a relationship is felt in its loss and absence. The scene calls for three roles and for the performance, soloist Sophia Stark will perform the parts for all characters. © MTF
*Digitally published for the Hawaiʻi Symphony Sheraton Starlight Series on July 9-11, 2021.