Sondheim uncovers the pitfalls of youth and beauty, while Gambon shows age has its perks
Passion is the show that divides even Sondheim devotees. There are die-hard admirers who find the score – which instead of songs offers a nagging network of motifs and internal echoes – in singularly short supply of the eponymous commodity. Its gothic story has been dismissed as simultaneously distasteful and incredible. But Jamie Lloyd's Donmar revival of this rebarbative 1994 musical makes a compelling case for its power to unsettle and affront.
Into the Woods goes virtually site-specific with this sharp, spirited revival of Sondheim's 1987 musical. Offering a Freudian take on fairy tales as psychological rites-of-passage, the piece is inventively directed by Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel in the sylvan setting of Regent Park's Open Air Theatre.
The Week in Arts
If you were to travel back to the Last Night of the Proms in 1910, you would see 3,000 people paying their threepence to listen to Edward German's comic operettas and Dorothy Forster's fashionable songs.
Pop Artist Gerald Laing is probably best known for his seminal 1962 portrait of Brigitte Bardot – but his image is set for an update. Morton Metropolis, a contemporary-art gallery set up by modern-art maven Serena Morton and Amy Winehouse's manager, Raye Cosbert, is launching with an exhibition of the painter's latest works, including prints of Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Winehouse herself, alongside his vintage material. And just as our obsession with celebrity hasn't changed, Laing's work is as of-the-moment as ever. mortonmetropolis.com
Described by Woody Allen as "the best comedy writer I ever knew", Larry Gelbart was a skilled humorist who had hits in the theatre, cinema and on television. He received both a Tony Award and an Emmy, and his Broadway show libretti included the boisterous and bawdy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), the first Broadway show to have both words and music by Stephen Sondheim, based on the plays of Plautus, and the deliciously witty pastiche of film noir, City of Angels (1989). On screen, he won Oscar nominations for his scripting of the George Burns vehicle, Oh, God! (1977) and the hilarious gender-swapping tale Tootsie (1982).
As the Southbank Centre prepares to celebrate the work of Leonard Bernstein, Boyd Tonkin reflects on the impression left by the composer – and recalls a memorable encounter with the great man himself
A hip-hop take on a fairy-tale Broadway musical – set in a grim housing estate – is body-popping into London's West End. By Matilda Egere-Cooper
Despite the copious blood and guts, Tim Burton's musical is a strangely moral tale