Nearly two years after his death, Stephen Sondheim’s final, unfinished musical will tread the boards later this year. In the works since 2014, the show, now titled Here We Are, will receive a limited engagement at The Shed’s Griffin Theater this September, according to Playbill.
Sondheim began work on Here We Are with playwright David Ives nearly a decade ago. Based on two films by Luis Buñel, The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, the musical was a two-act, surrealist dinner party. Before his death, Sondheim returned to the show, then-called Square One. He described it to the New York Times in 2021.
“The first act is based on The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie,’ and the second act is based on ‘The Exterminating Angel,” he said. “I don’t know if I should give the so-called plot away, but the first act is a group of people trying to find a place to have dinner, and they run into all kinds of strange and surreal things, and in the second act, they find a place to have dinner, but they can’t get out.”
Sondheim also discussed the show on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and indicated it was close to completion. “It’s called Square One, and we had a reading of it last week, and we were encouraged, so we’re going to go ahead with it. With any luck, we’ll get it on next season.”
Tony-winner Michael Cerveris participated in the 2016 workshop of the show and told the Times that the first act was done, while the second was “sketched out, but still awaiting much of the music.” Shortly after, Sondheim canceled the workshop so that he could finish writing.
Sondheim and Ives began developing the show in 2014, and the pair continued to workshop it at The Public Theater in 2016 and 2021. However, work on the show was so sporadic that it became the subject of an elaborate Twitter prank last year. Twitter users began promoting the show as coming to Broadway with Bernadette Peters and Nathan Lane as the stars. No stars have attached themselves to the show, but if the prankster believes in manifesting via fake Broadway show announcements, consider their attempt mostly successful.