The tributes keep on coming. “Honoring Stephen Sondheim” was the theme of the 2017 New York Festival of Song’s spring gala on April 19, 2017. Leading the cast was Pamela Myers singing “Another Hundred People,” the song she belted into the world as the original Marta in Company. Also on the program: “You Must Meet My Wife,” “The Road You Didn’t Take” (sung by Ron Raines, Tony-nominated for his portrayal of the famous Benjamin Stone in the 2011 Broadway revival of Follies); and three selections from Sweeney Todd performed by the opera couple Greer Grimsley, bass-baritone, and Luretta Bybee, mezzo-soprano, stars of last summer’s Glimmerglass production. Steven Blier, the beloved artistic director and co-founder of the highly regarded NYFOS, served as host and pianist.
Why Sondheim? “I’ve always been dazzled by Stephen Sondheim’s songs, and my appreciation has only increased with the years,” Blier said. “His lyrics have an uncanny precision — every rhyme, every metaphor honed to the sharpest point. His words are welded to music of enormous variety — by turns lyrical, declamatory, sentimental, ironic, and steely. And he is capable of every emotional temperature.” The festival, which turns 30 in 2018, celebrates the history and infinite variety of its art form, with an emphasis on American song. Sondheim attended the event in the tiny (just 268 seats) jewel box that is Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. For more about the New York Festival of Song: nyfos.org. — DIANE NOTTLE