Sorry theatre fans, but the new Sondheim musical Square One is not coming to Broadway in fall 2023. Recent posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook heralded a Main Stem bow for the Stephen Sondheim-David Ives musical starring Tony winners Bernadette Peters and Nathan Lane, but Playbill has confirmed via Peters' representatives that the posts are not true.
The musical, an adaptation of two films from Spanish-Mexican director Luis Buñuel, was reportedly in the works from the late Broadway legend and Ives as early as 2014. Off-Broadway's The Public developed the work in 2016, but in 2021 The New York Times reported that Sondheim had abandoned the project. Conflicting reports in the months since have indicated that Sondheim and Ives may have not been done working on the musical, though it was unfinished when Sondheim died in 2021. Any future production of the material would likely involve additional songwriters joining the team to complete the project.
Once titled Buñuel, the musical was reportedly in two acts, the first based on the director's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), the second on his The Exterminating Angel (1962), both set at surreal dinner parties. The musical, Sondheim said, is about “trying to find a place to have dinner.” The first deals with interruptions to dinner, the second is about “people who have dinner and can’t leave,” which “is my cheerful view of the world today.”
Tony winner Michael Cerveris, who had been part of the 2016 Public Theater workshop, told the Times that while the first act of the musical was nearly complete, the second was “sketched out, but still awaiting much of the music.”
“It was an appropriately surreal, unnerving, and often hilarious piece,” he added. “And Steve was, as ever, experimenting with some fascinating, complex musical structures which David’s sensibilities seemed to suit really well, I thought.…The marriage with Buñuel felt pretty right for the times, and the world has only gotten darker and weirder since then. I’d have loved to see it come to be. But then, I will always want more Sondheim in the world.”