"I don't have any emotional reaction to 'Saturday Night' at all - except
fondness... It's not bad stuff for a 23-year-old ... It's my baby pictures.
You don't touch up a baby picture - you're a baby!" - Stephen Sondheim
Saturday Night began as a play by Julius
J. and Philip G. Epstein, the authors of the screenplay for "Casablanca."
Producer, Lemuel Ayers, wanted to make a musical of the script, and the young
Stephen Sondheim, making ripples in the theatre community, was engaged to
write the score. Money was secured to back a production, but Ayers died
suddenly, and the project was shelved. Saturday Night was
relegated to Sondheim lore, with individual songs from the show occasionally
turning up in various retrospectives and albums.
A new life for the musical began forty-two years
after it was written. Sondheim, after seeing a student concert version
of the musical at a Stephen Sondheim Study Day at the University of
Birmingham, gave permission for the Bridewell Theatre in London to produce the
first-ever staging of Saturday Night on December 17, 1997. On May
14, 1999, Saturday Night had its American premiere at O'Rourke Centre
for the Performing Arts in Chicago. Starring Australia's David Campbell,
Saturday Night opened off-Broadway on March 26, 2000 at the Second
Stage Theatre, where it ran for 74 performances.
endearing musical comedy follows young Brooklynite Gene and his buddies,
constantly bereft of a date for a Saturday night. A runner for a Wall
Street company, Gene has social aspirations and the white tie and tails to go
with them. The boys, however, are happy on the other side of the
Brooklyn Bridge. The social roller coaster that follows teaches them all
a little something about life and love.
Sondheim wrote Saturday Night in his
mid-twenties, only a little younger than contemporary composers Jason Robert
Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, and Adam Guettel.