DAVID BIANCULLI

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DOCUMENTARY NOW: “CO-OP”
February 27, 2019  | By David Bianculli

IFC, 11:00 p.m. ET

 
I’ve seen only two scenes from this new episode of the faux documentary series Documentary Now, but they’re both delightful in their audacity and, to the original inspiration, fidelity. (Can’t wait to see the entire show tonight.) Host Helen Mirren is presenting, in this installment, a 1970s-vintage (fake) film account of a cast recording for a (nonexistent) Broadway musical called Co-Op. The musical is about a group of characters inhabiting the same apartment building – and both the musical and the film about its cast recording are direct homages to, and spoofs of, Stephen Sondheim’s landmark Company musical, whose marathon cast recording was captured for posterity, brilliantly, in filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s 1970 documentary, Original Cast Album: Company. Guest actors having a blast doing their own version of that film include John Mulaney, Taran Killam, Richard Kind (who's been in an actual Sondheim production of Bounce), Renee Elise Goldsberry from Hamilton, and, taking on the Elaine Stritch persona of a talented but stressed-out diva in meltdown mode, Paula Pell. What detail. What music. And, for Sondheim fans, what fun!
 
 
 
 
 
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