Sondheim Unplugged is a popular New York City cabaret series that was launched in July of 2010 and is currently in residence at New York's famed nightspot, Feinstein's/54 Below. The BroadwayWorld and Bistro Award-winning series features some of Broadway and cabaret's most esteemed vocalists (including special guests who created roles in Stephen Sondheim musicals), delving into the musical world of the celebrated Broadway composer, accompanied by piano only.
The series was launched during "the hoopla surrounding Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, which was widely celebrated here in New York," according to series creator, producer and host, Phil Geoffrey Bond. After seeing a few of the "big gala celebrations," Bond wanted to create a smaller tribute to Sondheim at The 100-seat Laurie Beechman Theatre on West 42nd Street where, at the time, he served as Director of Programming.
The series was only meant to run for four performances throughout the month of July. However, as it grew in popularity throughout the month, so did demand, and Sondheim Unplugged continues its run currently.
Phil Geoffrey Bond,
creator and host of Sondheim Unplugged
In contrast to the “grand concert presentations" of Sondheim’s music, Sondheim Unplugged “pares everything down to concentrate on the brilliance of these melodies and lyrics,” as is explained in the show. Throughout the evening, Bond fills the audience in on “various tidbits of theatrical lore” concerning the original Broadway productions.
Although scheduled to open at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, a last minute decision by management resulted in the venue closing down during the Fourth of July weekend. So, a hurried substitution was made, and Sondheim Unplugged instead played its first performance at the Manhattan venue Don't Tell Mama, resuming performances at The Laurie Beechman Theatre the following week.