Introduction by Annie Baker

Originally conceived as the pilot of a televised series, D.A. Pennebaker’s seminal entry in the canon of musical theater documentaries follows the raucous 1970 production of the original cast album for Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Tasked with documenting an extended recording session at the Manhattan studio of Columbia Records, taking place less than two months after the show’s Broadway debut, Pennebaker and his crew cast a humane, inquisitive gaze on Sondheim, director Hal Prince, and a vibrant cast of veteran actors including Elaine Stritch, Dean Jones, Barbara Barrie, and George Coe. Alternately startling for its frankness and unexpectedly moving in its author’s sensitive attunement to irruptions of raw frustration and artistic exuberance, the film deftly chronicles how the often conflicting forces of ego, talent, and personality are prone to combust under the pressure-cooker conditions of a collective creative endeavor.

Screening with:
The Meadows Green
George Griffin and DeeDee Halleck, 1974, U.S., 23m

Fantastical, larger-than-life puppetry and rambunctiously playful choreography is framed against an Edenic backdrop of Vermont farm country in George Griffin and DeeDee Halleck’s luminous, lyrical short film, which documents the 1974 edition of the Bread and Puppet Theater’s annual Domestic Resurrection Circus, taking place soon after the company’s relocation from downtown Manhattan to the rural New England enclave where it remains headquartered to this day.