(Sarah Bahr’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/27; via Pam Green. Photo: Stephen Sondheim, who had been working on developing “Buñuel” for the last decade or so with the playwright David Ives.Credit…Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times. )
The 91-year-old composer told the Public Theater last year that he was no longer working on a show based on the films of Luis Buñuel.
One big lingering question for theater fans following the news that the prolific producer Scott Rudin will “step back” from his stage projects: What will happen to his shows in development, notably the Stephen Sondheim musical “Buñuel,” which at last report was slated to be produced Off Broadway at the Public Theater?
Rudin, who is facing a reckoning over decades-long accusations of bullying, had been a commercial producer attached to the musical.
But the Public now says: It isn’t happening.
In the wake of reports about Rudin, the Public on April 22 put out a statement saying it had not worked with him in years. Responding to a follow-up question, Laura Rigby, a spokeswoman for the Public, said last week that Sondheim had informed the theater last year that he was no longer developing the musical. (The Public clarified that its cancellation had nothing to do with Rudin.)
Sondheim, who turned 91 at the end of March, did not respond to emailed questions about the project’s status.
The work, which was based on the films of the Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel, promised to be one of the last chances for theatergoers to see a new stage musical by musical theater’s most venerated composer. Sondheim had been developing it for the last decade or so with the playwright David Ives (“Venus in Fur”), who also did not respond to email requests for comment.
Sondheim had previously said that the show would comprise two acts, the first based on the filmmaker’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972), and the second on “The Exterminating Angel” (1962).