Here We Are, the final musical from late theatrical legend Stephen Sondheim, officially opens its world premiere run at The Shed's Griffin Theater Off-Broadway October 22 after beginning previews September 28. The extended limited run will continue through January 21, 2024. Tony winner Joe Mantello is at the helm.
The two-act musical draws inspiration from the Luis Buñuel-directed films The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and The Exterminating Angel (1962), both set at surrealist dinner parties. The musical, Sondheim said, is about “trying to find a place to have dinner.” The first deals with interruptions to dinner, the second is about “people who have dinner and can’t leave,” which “is my cheerful view of the world today.” The book is by David Ives, and music and lyrics are by Sondheim.
The Shed's all-star production features Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos. Understudies Bradley Dean, Adam Harrington, Bligh Voth, Adante Carter, Mehry Eslaminia, and Lindsay Nicole Chambers round out the company.
The musical has been in the works since at least 2014 and was developed by The Public Theater in 2016. In 2021, The New York Times reported that Sondheim and Ives had abandoned the project, but conflicting reports in the months after reported that the pair was not done with the idea. Sondheim died in 2021, but reportedly sanctioned a staging of the musical and considered his compositional work on the project completed before his passing.
The production features choreography by Sam Pinkleton, set and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Tom Gibbons, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, music direction and supervision by Alexander Gemignani, hair design by Wigmakers Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office. Tom Kirdahy, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, and The Stephen Sondheim Trust are producing, with Oscar Arce serving as associate producer. The Shed is the production's co-presenter.
Here We Are becomes the third major Sondheim production to be running concurrently in New York City, joining Broadway's Sweeney Todd, which opened last season; and Merrily We Roll Along, which opened at the Hudson October 10.