I had been mulling a post about Stephen Sondheim since his death, but like so many mullings, mulling is as far as I got.

[Editor’s Note: I know the post title is a Harold Rome lyric, okay?]

I’m about to crib an email exchange with the famous Martin to whom I’m always referring here on Domani Dave, but first, a couple of notes.

My second exposure to Stephen Sondheim [my first exposure (duh…) was ‘West Side Story’] was Richard Lester’s movie version of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’, which includes the lyric I’m still contemplating for my epitaph:

’Oh, isn’t it a shame?  I can neither sew nor cook, nor read or write my name.  But, I’m happy merely being lovely, for it’s the one thing I can give to you!’

Another shame is that Stephen (the husband…) finds ‘Send in the Clowns’ too painful to hear.  This causes more abrupt cancelations of a whistling in a household of constant (some say ‘incessant’) whistlings than you might imagine; the internal jukebox rotates where it will.

But, on to Martin’s text:

I must confess that I learned more about Stephen Sondheim after he died than when he was alive.  But at the end of the day I was brought back to something I’ve known for years: Barbra Streisand’s medley version of ‘Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch’ is my favorite Sondheim: a soft beginning increasing to a dominant middle and finally a show-stopping end. Truman Capote once publicly complained ‘must that girl make every goddamn song a three-act play?’  When you’re an ingenue in your first Broadway play and you only have one solo number (‘Miss Marmelstein’), you turn that one number into a three-act play!

My reply:

This ‘ingénue’ knows ‘Miss Marmelstein’ by heart, and will perform it for you for a small sum of money.  Out of my collection of Barbra Streisand (beginning in 1963), I was once playing ‘I Can Get It for You Wholesale’ on the family victrola (a handsome console Magnavox) and my father, who professed to not like Barbra Streisand, laughed when the ‘Miss Marmelstein’ lyric got to the word ‘corroborate’.  (He was a CPA who practiced in an office full of lawyers.)  In addition, I can whistle along, note by note, flawless tempo matching, with key change, ‘Pretty Women/Ladies Who Lunch’.  Book me now; FYI, this will cost more than the ‘Miss Marmelstein’ performance.

— Dave, the homosexual