December 3, 2022

Sondheim, who usually starts looking for places to insert songs into the author’s text, finds one on Lapine’s first few pages when Dot poses for Seurat on a hot Sunday. Lapine extends the moment to a monologue that begins with the words “First a drop of sweat”, but Sondheim thinks: “Dribbling – I can’t dribble.” He changes it to “trickling”. A good start, but Lapine waits so long for the result or any result that he begins to fear that Sondheim will leave him “at the altar”. The delay is in part the result of Sondheim’s fundamental concern: “I didn’t think the show needed songs.”

At the first reading of the first act, Sondheim plays the entire previous score, which consists of four arpeggios – around 10 seconds of music.

The off-Broadway workshop at Playwrights Horizons was largely funded by scholarships and “rich widows,” says André Bishop, the theater’s artistic director. But at least one is not on board. Dorothy Rodgers, Richard Rodgers’ widow and a gray eminence in New York state arts funding, argues that Sondheim as a “commercial” composer does not deserve public funding. Bishop recalls writing to her, “If you think this barely half-written musical about a pointillist painter is commercial, you must be crazy!” Instead of cutting funding, he adds, “I think you should get on your knees and kiss my feet. ” Rodgers replies: “Dear André. Point taken. “

Lapine receives a letter from Edward Kleban, the lyricist of “A Chorus Line”, suggesting that “Sunday”, not yet performed, is appropriating elements of Kleban’s unproduced musical “Gallery”. The implied threat of lawsuit hovers on Broadway, as does Kleban scribbling notes during the preview, but a lawsuit never materializes.

On the first day of the rehearsal, Peters received an emergency call: “Your father is sick.” But it’s just her stalker. Other problems are not so easy to dismiss. One performer quits after a week and several who stay defy what they call Lapine’s “sophomoric” drama and directing style. Spiner, who plays a chauffeur, complains, “I have no character. Where is my character? ”When Lapine replies,“ You are not a character, you are a color, ”Spiner replies,“ Would you mind telling me which color? ”