Back row left to right: Eric B. Cohen, Carol Baird, Jonathan Stein, Russ Cusick, David Kolakoski. Middle row: Kathleen Weeks, Peggy Polaneczky, Helen Chen, Maggie Warner, Emily Carpenter, Front row:  Ava Esther Hayashi, Barbara Parker, Brenna Stein.

New Show Is an Exuberant Revue of Sondheim’s Work

Written by Sara Metzidakis. Posted in Volume 37, Issue 13 - March 25, 2017

Anyone who knows and loves musical theatre is likely to be already familiar with Stephen Sondheim’s work. The American composer has been the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for drama, an Academy Award for best song, eight Grammy awards, and eight Tony awards. But he’s at his best as a lyricist and composer of musicals. He’s also the subject of the musical revue Sondheim On Sondheim.

Having been fortunate enough to see the Broadway production of Sondheim On Sondheim, I was excited to hear that our very own Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) is performing the musical. The show opens Friday, March 31, and will run for four performances.

The show is a revue of Sondheim’s songs and features more than two dozen of them, including favorites like Something’s Coming, for which he wrote the lyrics, as well as Losing My Mind and Send in the Clowns for which he wrote both music and lyrics. Other songs may not be as well known, but are also wonderful.

The songs are placed in the context of Sondheim’s musical journey and life story, told through a compilation of interviews and videos shot through the years. One watches Sondheim himself tell his story as we listen to his music.

I got to watch a recent rehearsal of Sondheim on Sondheim at the Cultural Center. The musical numbers I watched were enthusiastically presented. The cast clearly enjoys their work and, whether solos or group numbers, there was high energy. The director, Jackie Lucid-Cusick, has a 30-year background of acting, teaching, and directing, and is a Roosevelt Island resident.

Lucid-Cusick said that even though several cast members were absent that day, there was a lot of talent on stage and backstage.

Assistant Director and Choreographer Mary McCatty was a Rockette for many years and has appeared on Broadway. Paul Johnson, the musical director, has been involved with several MST&DA events and has many years’ experience as a musical director for Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and regional theatre. Naim Zaboura, a resident of Roosevelt Island, handles all the video. He said, “So, basically anything you see on the screen during the show will be controlled by me.” Of the cast of 17, 11 of the performers reside on Roosevelt Island, attesting to the number of creative and talented people who live here.

Sondheim On Sondheim opens Friday, March 31, at 8:00 p.m. at the Howe Theater in the Cultural Center at 548 Main Street. Additional performances are on Saturday, April 1, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m, and on Sunday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for seniors/children, $20 for general admission, and can be purchased at mstda.org/sondheim-on-sondheim.

Tags: Art Reviews entertainment Art & Music MSTDA Sara Metzidakis

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