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Move On

A couple of weeks ago, New York Magazine announced that Frank Rich would be joining them in June.

Rich will be an essayist for the magazine, writing monthly on politics and culture, and will serve as an editor-at-large, editing a special monthly section anchored by his essay. He will also be a commentator on nymag.com, engaging in regular dialogues on the news of the week.

For those of us who have been reading Rich at the NYT for decades — first as chief drama critic, then as an op-ed columnist — the news of his departure was a shock. In fact, my Rich reading days go back to my arrival at college years earlier. He was two years ahead of me and a bigwig at The Crimson.

Rich’s farewell column appears in tomorrow’s NYT. I was reading it online earlier this evening with moderate interest until I reached the closing paragraph, which took me by happy surprise.

You will recall that I am a huge Stephen Sondheim fan, and that Sunday in the Park with George is “our” musical — the musical Gail and I saw on Broadway when we passed through New York as one stop on our extended honeymoon and whose music has moved us ever since. Having reminded you of that, I’ll now quote Rich’s final NYT words:

Of all the things I’ve done at The Times, there may be none I’m prouder of than, in my critic’s days, championing “Sunday in the Park with George,” Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s 1984 musical about two artists in two different eras restless to create something new. For a quarter-century now, the show’s climactic song has inspired countless people in all walks of life when the time has come to take a leap. “Stop worrying where you’re going,” the Sondheim lyric goes. “Move on.”

You will find below, courtesy of youtube, Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin singing the song during the original Broadway run of the show. And at top, their reprise 25 years later at Sondheim’s 80th birthday concert. Both versions are glorious. Together they provide an excellent primer on the change the years bring — in appearance, in voice, in interpretation.

Categories: Journalism, Theater
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