Generally, I’m not a big fan of revues – stage shows that gather together the songs or dances of a single artist – but you know what I am a fan of? Documentaries about creative types.
And Sondheim on Sondheim, now being staged by Dexter’s Encore Musical Theatre, is a unique kind of hybrid (conceived by James Lapine) that doesn’t simply let Stephen Sondheim’s songs speak for themselves, but instead intersperses film clips of the man talking about his process; the evolution of his career; and his life. And this makes all the difference.
Encore’s production, directed by Dan Cooney, features 8 cast members who perform the songs (plus music director Tyler Driskill, who plays a grand piano at center stage): Peter Crist, Leah Fox, Daniel A. Helmer, Lauren Norris, Kelsey Pohl, Thalia Schramm, Jim Walke, and Adam Woolsey. Dressed by costume designer Sharon Larckey Urick in what my family calls “dressy casual” – jewel toned dresses for the women, neutral-color suits with colorful button-down shirts for the men – various configurations of performers appear on stage to perform Sondheim’s songs, usually on the heels of a video clip of Sondheim talking about his work on a particular show, or part of his personal history. READ THE REST HERE