Elaine Stritch, singing about ‘the ladies who lunch’. Remind you of someone…perhaps living in OUR White House?
And the original:
A documentary of the recording of the original cast recording was created by award-winning documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker shortly after the show opened on Broadway as a pilot for a series of TV documentaries which were to highlight the different ways a cast album recording session could be conducted and the results therefrom. However, a week after the original screening, producers for the original series were hired in Hollywood to go head up production for a major movie studio, the series was scrapped and only this pilot film remains.
The film is filled with behind the scenes footage of the recording process, complete with the musical direction and insight of Sondheim himself. Several of the show’s numbers are captured in the film including; Another Hundred People, Not Getting Married, and Being Alive. These tunes are all recorded with a live orchestra, done in multiple takes over the course of several hours.
Eventually only Elaine Stritch’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” remains to be recorded. It is now well past midnight, and Stritch, Sondheim and the orchestra are all clearly suffering from the effects of the day’s marathon recording session. Over the next several hours Stritch struggles repeatedly to record a satisfactory version of The Ladies Who Lunch. The film covers a multitude of takes, over the course of the evening, as exhaustion and frustration get the better of both her and Sondheim. Eventually the crew agree to record the orchestra separately and have Stritch record the vocal over it the following day. The finale of the film records a recovered Stritch successfully performing.