Stephen Sondheim, son of the gay club, bids farewell to that ‘happiest pixie’

No one approaches the world of post-show ins and outs quite like musical theater founder and creative force Stephen Sondheim. In “Stephen Sondheim on Sondheim” in 2013, he gave a rare performance of “Broadway…

Stephen Sondheim, son of the gay club, bids farewell to that ‘happiest pixie’

No one approaches the world of post-show ins and outs quite like musical theater founder and creative force Stephen Sondheim. In “Stephen Sondheim on Sondheim” in 2013, he gave a rare performance of “Broadway Baby,” from his 1985 musical “Company.” For the recording, he invited attendees to press a button when they’d finished their remarks to let Sondheim know that they had the song, and, oh yeah, to thank him. He’s even written several tweets about the pop tart, calling herself “God’s little happy pixie.”

And then on Monday, Sondheim — who is turning 80 on Thursday — sent out a series of tweets aimed at Peter Rubin, the award-winning actor and director who helmed “Rent,” a definitive and groundbreaking 1996 show in musical theater that chronicled the coming-of-age of a young artist and, not coincidentally, drew on a trove of ’60s counterculture. On Monday night, the show opened at the National Theatre, and several of Sondheim’s tweets have since been deleted.

For two full hours on Monday night, Rubin — a Tony winner, and the brother of the formidable actor Estelle Parsons — presided over a celebration of “Rent,” celebrating the now-enormous character of its modern champions and – in 2017 – the show’s consummate place in musical theater history. Rubin’s peripatetic production had traveled widely in recent years, notably to New York and London’s West End.

Earlier in the day, Rubin had tweeted that he was booked to host Sondheim at the National Theatre and that he’d had “three episodes” of Sondheim’s chat show, “Sondheim on Sondheim,” filmed during the actor’s run on Broadway in “Sunday in the Park With George” in 2010. Rubin wrote, “In retrospect, those were not the best episodes.” As The Washington Post’s Paul Sullivan reported after the 2012 London staging of “Hughie,” director Scott Ellis interviewed Sondheim at this point, and Ellis later cited that episode as one of the show’s highlights.

In his latest spate of tweets, Sondheim criticized Rubin for failing to secure a place for him to speak about “Rent” at the National Theatre — even though it was the first production of “Hughie” in which Sondheim did not compose the music, but instead performed. (Ellis at the time wrote that “Rent” was the show he played.) Rubin responded Tuesday morning by posting a photo of the date the episode originally taped, March 19, 2010.

“Defeated,” Sondheim responded, “You did not let me speak out loud in public about what was one of the most meaningful events of my life! Shame on you! You owe me one.”

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