Stephen Sondheim and Mary Rodgers, late Broadway greats, have brilliant last words in their new documentary. And we’re with them all the way through.
We’ve seen plenty of movies where great actors speak their last words; there’s the famous example where Tom Hanks did it. But rarely have we seen it done so perfectly. So we’ve teamed up with our colleagues at Stony Creek Productions to bring to you the most unforgettable final words of actors from the greatest shows of the past century, from Cole Porter and George Gershwin to Cy Coleman and the late Stephen Stills.
The great Stephen Stills and the late Mary Rodgers stand before the camera for their final curtain call.
“Oh, what’s the name of that show?” Mary Rodgers says.
“Oh, no…,” says her husband, Stephen Sondheim.
The camera pans down the side of the stage to reveal the empty chairs and then goes to cut between Sondheim and Rodgers on the far side of the stage. It switches to an overhead shot of the audience. One guy in the row stands up and leans over Sondheim. “Do you want me to give it up?” he asks, and Sondheim nods and reaches out his hand.
The camera zooms in on the hand, and we hear a kind of muffled gasp. Stills is watching, hands going up, as Sondheim looks down, then nods and drops his hand. It was Mary Rodgers’ right hand, or at least a right hand in Sondheim’s, Mary Rodgers’ right hand.
When it’s over, Sondheim says, “I love you, my darling, wherever you are. I love you and will miss you very much.”
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Rodgers says. “I’ll never forget Stephen.”
That’s the end of a career that spanned 20 years. We talked to Sondheim and Rodgers about the show they loved to perform.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
(Photo: Joe Leydon/Getty Images)
How hard is it to