Putting It Together (TV Movie 2000) Poster

(2000 TV Movie)

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Very well Put Together
christian_gil8827 May 2008
Based on the 1998 Los Angeles production, this show ran for over 100 performances on Broadway.

Primarily a love-fest for Sondheim fans, this review was a big hit. From the authoritative baritone of George Hearn to the camp antics of Bronson Pinchot it's great fun.

There are many somewhat unusual numbers included amongst the justly famous ones. The opening number (Invocations and Instructions to the audience) comes from The Frogs, four of the five songs in the film 'Dick Tracy' are included, and a couple of numbers cut from 'A Little Night Music' are also present. Sondheim addicts will doubtless get great enjoyment from identifying what comes from where, so I won't go on. (It took me a while to get them all - my DVD does not have a listing!)

Carol Burnett is hilarious in 'Getting Married Today' and dramatically convincing in 'The Ladies who Lunch'. John Barrowman's stunning looks and equally stunning voice is put to good use in such numbers as 'Bang' – a duet with the glorious Ruthie Henshall – and 'Marry Me a Little'. Bronson Pinchot is a narrative link between scenes, and has his own moment of glory in 'Buddy's Blues', one of those tongue twisting numbers Sondheim revels in, executed with great panache.

The binding force in all this is, of course, George Hearn. Whether in solos, duets or just on stage listening (for example to Carol Burnett in 'Could I Leave You?' ) his presence is commanding and supportive.

There is not one part of this show that is less than totally enjoyable. All the extremely talented artists are having fun, and so are the audience. Join in.
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A Celebration of the Genius that is Sondheim
ijonesiii1 December 2005
PUTTING IT TOGETHER was another valentine to the musical genius of Stephen Sondheim, the best composer working in the musical theater today. Nobody can craft a tapestry of words the way Sondheim can. This is maybe the 4th or 5th musical revue based on his music but this one is a little different because each performer is assigned a thumbnail character to base the songs on and the characters are supposedly at a cocktail party when the songs are performed. The cast is sublime, led by the incomparable Carol Burnett, a gifted actress and comedienne that a lot of people forget is an amazing singer and skillful musician. She puts her own stamp on Sondheim classics like "The Ladies who Lunch", "Getting Married Today", and "Every Day a Little Death", which she duets on with Henshall. Burnett commands the stage and when she is on, you don't notice anybody else, except maybe George Hearn, the ultimate interpreter of Sondheim, having played SWEENEY TODD and Ben in the concert version of FOLLIES. His rich baritone effectively serves songs like "The Road You Didn't Take" from FOLLIES, "Good Thing Going" from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG and his duet with Harrowman, "Pretty Women" from SWEENEY TODD. Harrowman scores with a song cut from COMPANY called "Marry Me a Little" and Henshall shines performing two songs from the movie DICK TRACY...the Oscar winning "Sooner or Later" and "More", as well as "LOVELY" from A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. But the biggest surprise for this reviewer was Bronson Pinchot, who I had no idea was so adept at musical comedy. He serves as narrator/host for the show and opens the show with a funny song, which I believe is also from FORUM, which instructs the audience on how to behave. He is very funny dueting with Burnett on "Everybody out to have a Maid" from FORUM and brings down the house with "Buddy's Blues" from FOLLIES. And Sondheim's five part arrangement of "Being Alive" from COMPANY is just spectacular. This show is not for everyone, but if you're a fan of musical theater in general and Sondheim in particular, this show is a must-see event.
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If you don't mind prerecorded music...
streabbog26 August 2006
If you are a fan of Carol Burnett (and you're not bothered by her scary, plastic-surgery face), if you like Bronson Pinchot, and if you don't mind prerecorded music (and heavily miked singing...), then by all means watch this program. I *hated* it! I was so disappointed. One longs for a live orchestra, band or pianist...and better singing! I wasn't thrilled that Perfect-Strangers-Balki was in it (and even more dismayed when he opened his mouth), and I was bitterly sad that George Hearn deigned to appear in this travesty. A performer like him shouldn't be in this!

There are however some pretty good extras: an interview with Ms. Burnett and an outtake (very hilarious! It was my favorite part.)
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So Good It Leaves you Wanting More.
peacham8 July 2002
"Putting In Together" ,a tribute to the music and lyrics of the great Broadway writer Stephen Sondheim is so good,yet it only scratches the surface of his vast work. With the outstanding cast assembled for this review one wishes it could go on forever! It can't,but what we have are some wonderful actor/singers interpreting some of Sondheim's most brilliant songs.With a cast that includes Broadway Legend George Hearn, Comedianne Extrordaniare Carol Burnett and London's First Lady of The Musical Stage Ruthie Henshall you can miss. Hearn is dynamic and engaging,particularly in "Hello Little Girl","The Road You Didn't Take" and "Country house" (the latter sung and acted with Burnett). Burnett herself scores comedic high marks with "Could I Leave You" and "Ladies Who Lunch",in both of the songs she bring a unique blend of humor and pathos. The lovely,talented and sexy Ruthie Henshall sets the stage afire with "Sooner or Later" and her highly charged dance in the "Bang!" number. Bronson Pinchot and John Barrowman add their talented support as well. Sonheim's music works on so many levels..its introspective,touching,emotional and fun. This review is a great way to relive his work if you are a fan, or to get familiar with it if you are a newcomer. With a cast this good you can't go wrong!
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Absolutely Brilliant
gainsbarre14 January 2005
Well, judging by the other comments people have written about Putting It Together, there's nothing I can say that is anything different. As the blurb outside the Ethel Barrymore said this is a "Galaxy of Broadway Brilliance".

I first caught this programme on cable, and I thought it was just incredible, the next time it was on I taped it, and showed it to a few people who are also in the theatre business. And they loved it as well and all ordered copies of it. It is probably the best filmed staged production I have seen.

But why is it so good I hear you beg and plead?? Well Stephen Sondheim's songs are deeply moving, hilariously funny, warm, witty, intelligent. He ranks, in my mind, as one of the best lyricists of all time. His songs strike a deep personal chord. His songs are also excellent and challenging to perform. The cast in this production are brilliant as well. Carol Burnett handles the emotional range of Sondheim's music superbly. In the humorous numbers, she gets laughs with incredible ease, a veteran comedy performer, however as the intro for the next song starts, she will display an emotional performance of resounding sadness and bitterness, that breaking tinge that always is the basis of a Sondheim song. George Hearn is also magnificent, performing his role with a cool aloofness and casualness before sinking down into heartfelt soul-searching. However it does have to be said that I feel in a Sondheim production it is slightly more difficult for the men, because the Women end up with the slightly better material. John Barroman is an incredible singer, dancer and the love songs he sings in the show are very moving. However he has been kind of lumped with the straight man role in this show, but he does a beautiful job. Bronson Pinchot is excellent as well, providing the role of the narrator and the singer of the bits and pieces, but he too performances his numbers with comedic brilliance and excellent emotion. His number "Buddy's Blues" is a stand out. And finally, Ruthie Henshall is simply amazing: her stage presence, her singing, dancing, is all fantastic. She projects incredible meaning into songs and is a true stage star. He rendition of "More" is particularly exceptional.

The direction, the musical direction, lighting, choreography: everything in this show is brilliant, and simply done. This show is the living proof that with simplicity you can put on a brilliant show. There's is basically no set, except for strategically raised boxes, no costume changes, simple but effective lighting, chamber-size orchestra, and yet it all works so perfectly and amazingly. It really is brilliant.
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Splendid Sondheim musical revue
TheLittleSongbird11 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For Stephen Sondheim fans, Putting it Together is a real treat and showcases his talents wonderfully. His music and lyrics are beautiful, funny and clever, and here is a great selection whether solos or ensembles. There is very little here that is wrong, apart from the sound at times with the orchestra sounding a little thin. What there is of the story though is lyrical and charming, and everything from visuals and lighting is kept simply, allowing the music to speak for itself.

But that doesn't mean that they are non-existent in this regard, because the lighting is very dynamic, the sets while minimal are a good setting for what the performance is about and the choreography is lively, particularly in the numbers involving Bronson Pinchot and John Barrowman. The orchestra play beautifully throughout and they do help in bringing the drama alive and maintaining it. The five performers are all on top form, and it is difficult to pick a favourite.

Carol Burnett and Bronson Pinchot were real surprises. Burnett is a great comedienne and it was clear from Annie that she was a fine singer and actress too, but the programme saw her needing to have an emotional and subtle side and it was interesting to see whether it would be as good as her comedy. And it is actually, Could I Leave You is very deeply felt and she is just as effective singing with George Hearn in Country House and Do I Hear a Waltz. But it is in the songs displaying her comic timing where she excels, Ladies Out to Lunch really bites without being overacted or resorting to histrionics and Not Getting Married Today is hilarious.

Pinchot takes on his first musical role, and this shows that he is as talented at singing as he is at comedy. He always was a talented slapstick comedian, which shows in his comic timing, and he also has a very nice agile voice and his stage presence is entertaining and graceful. Buddy's Blues is evidence of that. John Barrowman apart from occasional stiffness has the full package, a voice that is perfect for musical theatre and Sondheim(particularly in Pretty Women and Have I Got a Girl for You), an easy-going charm, charismatic acting, stylistically graceful dancing and handsome looks. Ruthie Henshall likewise, Sooner or Later sees her really connecting with the lyrics and remarkably we connect with them too because of how she delivers and sings- and like an angel- the song and she manages the difficult choreography of More with no signs of awkwardness.

Which leaves George Hearn, one of the greatest Sondheim performers(he and Bernadette Peters are personal favourites in this regard). He still sounds great for 66, with a rich, warm baritone voice that throughout the performance doesn't show signs of tiring. We don't hear him sing the role of Sweeney Todd or the song Epiphany(how that would have brought the house down), though on reflection that song may not have been fitting with the rest of the songs as great as it is. But the playful menace in Hello Little Girl and the heartfelt quality of The Road You Didn't Take really shine with Hearn, as does his first-rate musicianship, style and phrasing.

The 5-part ensemble of Being Alive was cleverly arranged and extremely moving. In conclusion, really splendid with great songs from a musical genius and perfectly pitched performances. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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If only I'd seen it on stage
hannah_lee17 October 2005
This show is my favourite DVD - I've had to buy a new one to replace the old one which I pretty much wore out. There are 2 reasons this is the best: 1) Stephen Sondheim. The best musical theatre writer in history. His music is original, unexpected and really beautiful. But his lyrics are what set him apart from the others. One of the other comments mentions that his lyrics are "inane". Sorry that's just wrong. How can the following quotes, all from Sondheim musicals, be described as inane?: "Slow, love, slow! Time's so fast. Now goes quickly, see, now it's past. Soon will come, soon will last. Wait!"; "The history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat. How gratifying for once to know that those above will serve those down below." (from Sweeney Todd). "There's another national anthem, and I think it just began, at the ballpark. Listen hard!... There's another national anthem, folks, for those who never win, for the suckers, for the pikers, for the ones who might have been." (from Assassins). 2) Ruthie Henshall. I have never quite understood why she hasn't made the big impact in other media that she has on the London stage. Over here she is the First Lady of musical theatre, and something of an iconic national treasure. I've had the pleasure of seeing her on stage in 'Chicago', and without doubt she is the most fully-rounded performer I've ever had a chance to watch. She has a voice that one reviewer described as "turning through all the colours of the rainbow", she trained as a dancer and has a grace and litheness that is all her own, and she is a rare commodity in the musical business as a woman who can actually act. All I can say is, if a young and not-that-well-known actress from England can steal a show from under the nose of one of the most successful American comediennes in showbiz history (Carol Burnett), she's got something. For these two very important reasons, this show is superlative.
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Fantastic! best filmed performance I've ever seen!
bckesler30 January 2007
This is the best filmed performance of a Broadway show that I've seen since Victor/Victoria. The music is fantastic, the story is what it needs to be, the performances are remarkable. Of course, I've always been a fan of John Barrowman, I think he was probably the best performer on the stage, with the exception, of course, to the great Carol Burnett. This was her show, even with Barrowman, Henshall, and Hearn, she made this her own. She is funny, but at the same time, I think a lot of people might be surprised at her incredible ability to truly act. The seriousness she provides in some of her songs is absolutely stunning and heart wrenching. My favorite song in the show was "Unworthy of your Love" I was very happy that they added that song to the show. However, I must say that I was a little disappointed in the changes in plot and songs. The original, with Julie Andrews, had a really great plot point where all of the guests at the cocktail party play games, and through the games, they are able to sing the songs connecting with the answers they gave to certain questions, and there were so many good songs that came out of it, among them, Love Takes Time, A Little Priest, The Gun Song, The Miller's Son, Sorry-Grateful, Remember, Impossible, and so many others that were switched out for other, not quite as good songs such as Ladies Who Lunch, More, It's Hot in Here, The Road You Didn't Take, There's Always a Woman, Buddy's Blues, and Good Thing Going. Still, great performances that will change your life.
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Good fun.
eponinefantine18 May 2003
Putting It Together has a wonderful cast of singer/actors. It is a funny piece of work that is fun to watch and very enjoyable. Now I can't just give applause to Carol Burnett for her performance, but to the rest of the actors:John Barrowman(The Fix, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon), George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall(TAC Les Miserables, Hey, Mr. Producer!, She Loves Me, Chicago), and Bronson Pinchot(The Langoliers). All these actors make a wonderful performance. They hold their act together until...(well I won't give it away to those who've not seen it). All of these actors have great voices. This performance is undescribable. It is absolutely wonderful to watch. I recommend this to those who enjoy theatre or Stephen Sondheim. EponineFantine.
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A salute to a great composer
irishbasterd15 November 2001
Stephen Sondheim is a genius. Now that that's out of the way and everybody relizes that every score he has written is a new and complex work of art I can continue with my reveiw. The show is quite good. The cast handles the various songs with ease and style. Carol Burnette is wonderful in her numbers and really funny. She also manages to make some real moments of pathos and sadness that I didn't think she was able to do. She was great. The real spotlight, however goes to George Hearn. I can see why his part earned him a Tony nomination. He not only stole the show from Carol Burnette without changing a word of the lyrics or book but he created a sense of Broadway style and flare that was not in any of the other performances. He is a master at Sondheim and I beleive one of his better interpreters. His wonderful feeling and stunning phrasing in his numbers make him a delight to watch. The rest of the cast, though good, cannot compare. See this for Hearn's preformance, you won't regret it.
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A marvelous performance of Sondheim songs.
Theatredavid24 November 2005
Unlike the other reviewer, I felt all of the performers were excellent - though I agree that Hearn was probably the best in the show. Certainly the other performers have decent credits. I also felt that a couple of times Carol Burnett resorted to her comic persona when it was unnecessary to make the moment work. This is probably NOT your cup of tea if you are not a Sondheim fan. That said, the adaptations made - especially "Everybody ought to have a Maid " and "Lovely" from "... Forum" - were excellent, and the set worked well as multiple locations. And if you like dancers, Ruthie Henshall is both gorgeous and outstanding in presenting her various personae, switching from gamine to seductress at will. The direction is superb, making the most out of the numbers and the unit set, and the lighting beautifully enhances the moments - particularly the use of behind the proscenium specials down on the performers. If you can enjoy a first-rate revue instead of a book show, this will work out well for you.
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Always worth rewatching
gmcdouga-126 April 2004
An outstanding show, Burnett can hold her own against Ruthie Henshall, who is about half her age.

All well seasoned Broadway types doing a tour de force job and doing it well.

Script is a rather silly revue format and the lyrics inane but the case, especially Carol and Ruthie sell them SO well.

The male performers all did good work and I was once again surprised that Branson Pinchot could do so well in a straight, non-accented role (I still see Balkie when I hear his name}.

All in all, a couple of hours of fun and fine singing.
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A PERFECT revue (and flawless cast!) of Sondheim's work
bekayess13 June 2002
Carol Bunett!

George Hearn!

Bronson Pinchot!

'Nuf said!
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