In 1973, the premiere of Little Night Music opened with Glynis Jones and Len Cariou in the lead roles. In this sad romance of middle-aged lovers, based on Bergman’s “Smiles of a Midsummer Night,” there’s the song “Let’s Go Clowns,” which gained popularity outside of the show. The 2009 revival starred Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones was nominated for Best Tony Revival.
“Pacific Overtures” with a book by John Weidman, which followed in 1976. The musical, also produced and directed by Prince, was not a financial success, but it demonstrated Sondheim’s commitment to the original material by filtering his account of Japan’s Westernization through an American-kabuki hybrid.
In 1979, Sondheim and Prince collaborated on what many consider Sondheim’s masterpiece – the bloody but often darkly funny Sweeney Todd. It is an ambitious work in which Cariou stars as a barber murderer whose clients find themselves in meat pies baked by Todd’s willing accomplice, played by Angela Lansbury.
Sondheim and Prince’s partnership collapsed two years later, following Riding Fun, a musical that traced the friendship from the characters’ compromised middle ages to their idealistic youth. The show, based on a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, ran on Broadway for just two weeks. But then again, as with Anyone Can Whistle, the original cast of the cast helped Merrily We Roll Along become a favorite with musical theater enthusiasts.