Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités


In 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, middle-class bachelor friends are restless on several Saturday nights because they have no dates. Gene, who works in a menial position in a Wall Street brokerage, has dreams of the exciting society life to be found in Manhattan, while his friends are content to stay in the neighborhood. Gene meets Helen, who is crashing a party (as is Gene). He schemes to "get rich quick", but his plan backfires and he barely escapes jail.


Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

Saturday Night was scheduled to open in the 1954-1955 Broadway season. Announcements of the production appeared in the New York Times, and auditions were held in mid-1955, following some revisions to the music brought about by backers' auditions. In the summer of 1955, it appeared that Saturday Night would be Sondheim's musical debut on Broadway that fall. However, in August 1955, lead producer Lemuel Ayers died, leaving the production with little morale and even less cash. The production was scrapped, and the musical material shelved. Although a handful of songs from the musical have appeared in revues and on Sondheim compilation albums, the score as a whole went unperformed until 1997.

The Stephen Sondheim Society supported the first ever fully staged performance of the musical at the University of Birmingham, having been given permission to stage the show by Sondheim himself. The production was overseen by Professor Stephen Banfield who, also with permission from Sondheim, orchestrated the show for full band from the existing piano scores. Unfortunately, Sondheim was unable to attend but sent his best wishes to all involved. It was then repeated, in a concert version, the following year at the Bridewell Theatre, London, with Sondheim in attendance. During the post-show Q & A session, one of the members of The Stephen Sondheim Society asked Mr. Sondheim if he would now allow the show to be performed publicly. He agreed to think about it having previously always said 'no!' and Carol Metcalfe, Artistic Director of The Bridewell Theatre, immediately volunteered to stage it. Directed by Carol Metcalfe and Clive Paget, Saturday Night opened at the Bridewell Theatre on December 17, 1997 and closed on January 24, 1998 after 38 performances. A cast recording was made, distributed by First Night (UK) and RCA Victor (US).

Following that production, the show had its US premiere with the Pegasus Players in Chicago. It opened at the O'Rourke Center for the Performing Arts, Truman College, Chicago, on May 19, 1999 and closed on July 18, 1999. Gary Griffin directed, with choreography by Marc Robin. Sondheim wrote two new song/scenes, "Delighted, I'm Sure" and "Montana Chem". The original book was edited by Sondheim, and there were new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. Interestingly the copyright date for "Delighted, I'm Sure" is 1954 by Sondheim. The other songs have copyright dates from 1973 (Tribute show) to 1999 (Chicago production) and are all by music publishers.

The New York premiere was at the Off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre on February 17, 2000, where it ran until March 26, 2000, for 45 performances. The Second Stage production was directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, and featured David Campbell (Gene), Lauren Ward (Helen), Natascia Diaz (Florence), Christopher Fitzgerald (Bobby), and Andrea Burns (Celeste). This production won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics. A recording was made with this original New York cast, released on June 20, 2000 by Nonesuch (ASIN: B00004TG64).

When asked his reaction to seeing Saturday Night performed in New York after 40 years, Sondheim replied, "I don't have any emotional reaction to Saturday Night at all — except fondness. It's not bad stuff for a 23-year-old. There are some things that embarrass me so much in the lyrics — the missed accents, the obvious jokes. But I decided, Leave it. It's my baby pictures. You don't touch up a baby picture — you're a baby!"

Magnormos produced the Australasian premiere of Saturday Night in Melbourne in 2003, directed by the company's founder Aaron Joyner. It was first presented at Chapel Off Chapel, and then at the newly opened Federation Square, the first work of musical theatre performed in The Edge theatre. It had successful reviews and was a sell-out. In 2010 Saturday Night was the musical chosen to launch the successful Magnormos A SONDHEIM TRIPTYCH to celebrate the composers 80th birthday, and it became the first musical theatre piece to perform in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre.

Primavera Productions produced the first UK revival at the fringe Jermyn Street Theatre in London, running from February 10, 2009 through March 14, 2009; this was the UK premiere of the revised Off-Broadway score. The musical then opened in the West End on March 25, 2009 through April 11 at the Arts Theatre. Directed by Tom Littler, with Musical Direction by Tom Attwood, and the cast included Helena Blackman, David Ricardo-Pearce, David Botham, Charlie Cameron, Lee Drage, Lloyd Gorman, Joanna Hickman, Joanna Hollister, Kevin Millington, David Osmond, Nick Trumble and Harry Waller.

In October 2011 the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia presented a concert staging of Saturday Night in its MAX Theatre. The production, directed by Matthew Gardiner, starred Geoff Packard as Gene, Susan Derry as Helen, Eleasha Gamble as Florence/Dakota, William Beech as Bobby, and Tracy Lynn Olivera as Celeste.



Liste des chansons

Act I
Overture - Orchestra
"Saturday Night" - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
"Class" - Gene, Hank, Celeste, Bobby, Artie, Ted, Dino
"Delighted I'm Sure" - Celeste, Mildred, Hank, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
"Love's a Bond" - Vocalist
"Isn't It?" - Helen
"In the Movies" - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Hank, Celeste, Mildred
"Exhibit A" - Bobby
"A Moment With You" - Vocalist, Gene, Helen
"Saturday Night" (reprise) - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
Gracious Living Fantasy - Gene & The Gang
"Montana Chem" - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Hank, Celeste
"So Many People" - Helen, Gene
"One Wonderful Day" - Celeste, Hank, Bobby, Mildred, Florence, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino

Act II
Entr'acte - The Orchestra
"Saturday Night" (reprise) - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
"I Remember That" - Hank, Celeste
"Love's a Bond" Blues - Dakota Doran
"All for You" - Helen
"That Kind of a Neighborhood" - Hank, Celeste, Mildred, Florence, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
"What More Do I Need?" - Gene, Helen, Hank, Celeste, Mildred, Florence, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Clune, Lieutenant
"One Wonderful Day" (reprise) - The Company

Textes disponibles on-line

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Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Saturday Night

Version 1

Saturday Night (1997-12-Bridewell Theatre-Londres) (Original)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 38 représentations
Première Preview : jeudi 11 décembre 1997
Première : mercredi 17 décembre 1997
Dernière : samedi 24 janvier 1998
Mise en scène : Carol Metcalfe • Clive Paget
Chorégraphie :
Avec : Cast: Sam Newman (Gene), Anna Francolini (Helen), Jeremy David (Artie), Simon Greiff (Ray), Mark Haddigan (Hank), James Millard (Bobby), Maurice Yeoman (Dino), Tracie Bennett (Celeste), Ashleigh Sendin (Mildred), Gavin Lee (Fantasy Man / Male Vocalist / Clune), Rae Baker (Fantasy Woman / Miss Fletcher / Florence / Usherette / Dakota Doran / Female Vocalist), Paul Brereton (Police Lieutenant / Fantasy Butler)
Commentaires :
This was planned for Sondheim’s Broadway debut in the early 1950s, but prior to the opening Lemuel Ayers, the producer, suddenly died from leukaemia. His widow decided to abandon the project and refused to release the rights to anyone else. The show remained unproduced for more than 40 years. In 1995 permission was granted for a group of students at Birmingham University to present a concert version, and this led to Sondheim allowing the Bridewell to stage this world premiere - a production of enormous interest to critics, performers and musical enthusiasts alike. It was well received.
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Version 2

Saturday Night (1999-05-O'Rourke Center-Chicago) (Revival)
Durée : 2 mois
Nombre :
Première Preview : vendredi 14 mai 1999
Première : mercredi 19 mai 1999
Dernière : dimanche 18 juillet 1999
Mise en scène : Gary Griffin
Chorégraphie : Marc Robin
Avec : Ian Brennan (Gene Gorman), Elizabeth Sayre Yeats (Helen Fogel), Nico Tricoci (Dino), Christopher LoDuca (Artie), Charles Karvelas (Ray), Philip Dawkins (Bobby/Major Domo/Elevator Boy), Elic Ryan Bramlett (Hank/Male Vocalist), Samantha Fitschen (Celeste), Harriet Nzinga Plumpp (Mildred), Bil Tisdale (Eugene Gorman (Pinhead)
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Version 3

Saturday Night (2000-03-Second Stage Theatre-Off Broadway) (Original Off-Broadway)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 30 previews - 45 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 18 janvier 2000
Première : jeudi 17 février 2000
Dernière : dimanche 26 mars 2000
Mise en scène : Kathleen Marshall
Chorégraphie : Kathleen Marshall
Avec : Michael Benjamin Washington (Ted), Kirk McDonald (Artie), Greg Zola (Ray), Joey Sorge (Dino), Christopher Fitzgerald (Bobby), Andréa Burns (Celeste), Clarke Thorell (Hank), David Campbell (Gene), Frank Vlastnik (Pinhead), Rachel Ulanet (Mildred)
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Version 4

Saturday Night (2009-02-London Run) (Revival)
Durée : 2 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : mardi 10 février 2009
Première : mardi 10 février 2009
Dernière : samedi 18 avril 2009
Mise en scène : Tom Tom Littler Littler
Chorégraphie : Tim Jackson
Avec : David Ricardo-Pearce (Gene), Helena Blackman (Helen), Lloyd Gorman ( Artie), Harry Waller (Ray), Nick Trumble (Hank), Lee Drage (Bobby), David Osmond (Dino), Joanna Hickman (Celeste), Joanna Hollister (Mildred), David Botham, Charlie Cameron, Kevin Millington.
Commentaires :
Following the original London production at the Bridewell, Sondheim permitted an off-Broadway staging which ran for 45 performances in Feb/March 2000. For the Broadway version Sondheim incorporated two new song/scenes, "Delighted, I'm Sure" and "Montana Chem", did some revisions to the original book, and some new musical arrangements by Jonathan Tunick. This London revival was the UK premiere of the revised off-Broadway score. After a month at the Jermyn Street Theatre it transferred to the Arts Theatre for a further three weeks.
Dates du Run
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Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Saturday Night


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Captations du musical