“Sooner or later we’re bound to get it right.”
Stephen Sondheim devoted over a decade to writing a musical about the Mizner brothers. He’d read their story at age 22 and held onto the obsession till the rights were available. The piece went through several collaborators, tones and titles (Wise Guys, Gold!, Bounce) before settling into Road Show. What was once intended to be a vaudeville tinged musical comedy became a somber piece and received mixed reviews.
Some critics felt the brothers were underdeveloped and that Addie’s devotion to Willy remained unexplained. Others saw the characters as archetypes representing conflicting sides of the American dream. Another group saw the beleaguered gay artist Addison as a stand in for Stephen Sondheim battling a lifetime of inner demons.
Will the next revival of Road Show convince critics they finally “understand it?” Will songs like "The Best Thing That Ever Happened," “Talent” and “Isn’t He Something” get the same concert and cabaret attention as Sondheim’s other ballads? Will this be Sondheim’s last musical?
“And doesn't he sparkle?
See how he glides!
Isn't he something!”