Here We Are - Sondheim's Buñuel Musical Slated for Sep 2023
The long-awaited show written by Stephen Sondheim in collaboration with book writer David Ives is finally to be staged Off-Broadway in September 2023. Now titled Here We Are, and inspired by two movies by Luis Buñuel – The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and The Exterminating Angel (1962) – the musical will be directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (“Wicked”) and produced by Tom Kirdahy (“Hadestown”).
Here We Are will be presented at The Shed’s Griffin Theater at 545 West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, NYC. The Shed is a multi-purpose non-profit arts space located in the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan, and includes the 500-seat Griffin Theater.
Sondheim first talked publicly about writing a musical inspired by Bunuel back in 2014. Over the years, the titles Buñuel and Square One were posited, and producer Scott Rudin was briefly associated, as was the non-profit Public Theater. The show has had a couple of workshops with the likes of Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane, Sierra Boggess, Michael Cerveris, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael C. Hall and Matthew Morrison - with one mini-workshop in 2016 described as having "melodies as gorgeous as those in Passion" [as reported by a "spy" in the New York Post]. Morrison was quoted as saying “Melodies are so un-generic, challenging... I couldn’t sleep the night before singing my parts."
Sondheim revealed that the musical would be about “trying to find a place to have dinner. The first act would be inspired by Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and the second on his The Exterminating Angel - two movies set at surreal dinner parties. The first half, said Steve, deals with interruptions to dinner, the second is about “people who have dinner and can’t leave,” which “is my cheerful view of the world today.”
“It reminded me of Passion," said the New York Post's spy, "where Steve’s music flows in and out of the storyline. It’s not an old-fashioned Sondheim show – you know, song, dialogue, then a song. It’s much more seamless.” The Post's Michael Riedel said, ”It moves backward and forward in time. I hear it’s a bit tricky to follow on the page, but, with Sondheim’s songs, is clear and funny on the stage.”
Sondheim described the show as unfinished shortly before his death. It's unclear what has since been done to finished it.
Performances begin in September. Visit The Shed for more information and to sign up for advanced booking.
David Ives (Book)
David Ives’s Broadway credits include Venus In Fur (also the film by Roman Polanski), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Is He Dead?, Wonderful Town (adapt., via Encores), The Apple Tree (adapt., via Encores), Dance Of The Vampires, and David Copperfield’s Dreams and Nightmares. Off-Broadway credits include All In The Timing, Mere Mortals, Lives Of The Saints, New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza, Ancient History, Polish Joke, Yasmina Reza’s A Spanish Play (translator), The School for Lies (adapted from Molière), The Liar (after Corneille), The Metromaniacs (after Piron), The Heir Apparent (after Regnard), The Panties, The Partner and The Profit: Scenes From the Heroic Lives of the Middle Class (adapt. from Sternheim), A Flea In Her Ear (translator), Don Juan In Chicago, and The Red Address. Radio plays (for Playing On Air) include Second Sight, Dummy Dialogue, and Locked and Loaded Can I Help you? He has written the young adult novels Scrib, Voss, and Monsieur Eek and has completed 33 adaptations for Encores. Ives holds a BA from Northwestern and a MFA from Yale School of Drama. He has received Helen Hayes Awards, a Joseph Jefferson Award, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship.
Joe Mantello (Director)
Joe Mantello’s Broadway directing credits include Grey House (spring 2023), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Hillary and Clinton, Three Tall Women, The Boys in the Band, Blackbird, The Humans, Airline Highway, The Last Ship, Casa Valentina, I’ll Eat You Last, The Other Place, Other Desert Cities, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, Laugh Whore, November, The Ritz, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross, Wicked, Assassins (Tony Award), Take Me Out (Tony Award), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Love! Valour! Compassion! Off-Broadway he has directed Dogfight, The Pride, A Man of No Importance, The Vagina Monologues, bash, The Mineola Twins, and Corpus Christi. As an actor he has appeared in Hollywood (Netflix), The Watcher (Netflix), American Horror Story: NYC (FX), and the upcoming FEUD Season 2: Capote and The Women (FX). Broadway credits include The Glass Menagerie, The Normal Heart (Tony nomination and on HBO), Angels in America (Tony nomination), and The Baltimore Waltz. Mantello is a recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie, and Joe A. Callaway awards.