Wall to Wall Genius.

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Stephen Sondheim turns 77 on March 22. When he turned 75, Symphony Space in NY staged a free all-day Sondheim concert called “Wall to Wall Sondheim.” It’s being rebroadcast in its entirety on XM Radio 28 on Saturday, March 24th (correction: I originally had it as the 17th) starting at noon Central time and ending ten hours later.

One of the best songs Sondheim has ever written is also one of the most recent: “The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened,” from “Bounce” (2003). It’s a ballad as gorgeous and deceptively simple as anything Irving Berlin ever wrote, and deserves to become a standard, though it hasn’t yet. (Singers may be thrown by the revised lyrics for the Washington, D.C. production, which don’t lend themselves to out-of-show performance; while the lyrics as performed in the previous Chicago production do make sense outside the show, the only preservation of the song on CD is on a Nonesuch cast album of the Washington version. The show never made it to New York.) The Symphony Space program listing in 2005 shows the song as among those to be performed that day, but if it was, it didn’t make it onto the highlights CD that Symphony Space later issued. XM subscribers can listen in on 3/17 and find out for themselves.

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