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Criterion Collection to Release D.A. Pennebaker's Original Cast Album: Company on DVD and Blu-ray

The long-unavailable film will be released in a 4K digital transfer this summer.

(© Criterion Collection)

The Criterion Collection will release D.A. Pennebaker's long-unavailable documentary Original Cast Album: Company on DVD and Blu-ray on August 17. The film began streaming on the Criterion Channel in 2020.

This holy grail for both documentary and theater aficionados offers a rare glimpse behind the Broadway curtain. In 1970, right after the triumphant premiere of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's groundbreaking concept musical Company, the renowned composer and lyricist, director Harold Prince, the show's stars, and a large pit orchestra all went into a Manhattan recording studio as part of a time-honored Broadway tradition: the recording of the original cast album. What ensued was a marathon session in which, with the pressures of posterity and the coolly exacting Sondheim's perfectionism hanging over them, all involved pushed themselves to the limit—including theater legend Elaine Stritch, who fought anxiety and exhaustion to record her iconic rendition of "The Ladies Who Lunch."

The Criterion release will include a 4K digital transfer of the original film, supervised by Chris Hegedus and Nate Pennebaker; new audio commentary from Stephen Sondheim; a new conversation between Sondheim, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick, and critic Frank Rich; a new interview with Tunick on the art of orchestrating, conducted by Ted Chapin; audio commentary from 2001 featuring Pennebaker, Stritch, and Prince; never-before-heard audio excerpts from interviews with Stritch and Prince, conducted by Pennebaker and Hegedus in 2000; the full 2019 parody documentary Original Cast Album: Co-Op, a 2020 reunion of the Co-Op cast and creative team, including director Alexander Buono; writer-actor John Mulaney; actors Rénee Elise Goldsberry, Richard Kind, Alex Brightman, and Paula Pell, and composer Eli Bolin; an essay by Mark Harris, and English subtitles.

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