SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM by Carol Kaufman Segal
American composer Stephen Sondheim was born March 22, 1930, in New York City. He is, undoubtedly, the most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. His works are like none others, with a quality all their own.
In this revival of Side By Side By Sondheim, an exceptional cast presents his music in a charming and entertaining review that includes 28 of his well-known songs, (15 in Act I, 13 in Act II) under the direction of Dan Fishbach. Each section is from a Sondheim musical with a familiar theme and is tied together by a Narrator (Mark D. Kaufmann) who relates what show the songs are from and sometimes adds further background regarding them. Mark D. Kaufman proves to be a very talented singer and performer himself (not just a “speaker.”)
The performers include Woman 1 (Rachel McLaughlan), Woman 2 (Sarah Busic), and Man 1 (Chris Kerrigan). The three o actors enter singing Comedy Tonight from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, followed by Love Is In the Air (also from the same play). Each song is an act within itself, some featuring Chris and Sarah, Chris and Rachel, Sarah and Rachel, all three together, or each one individually, depending on the song. But whoever is performing, it is like an act in itself. These are especially talented performers, not only singers. They bring each Sondheim song to life, and not always the easiest to tackle such as Gettting Married Today from Company.
Stephen Sondheim wrote lyrics in partnership with other well-know music writers. Therefore, you will find some of music in the production by Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne.
Music direction is by Richard Berent, pianists include Berent and Cheryl Gaul. The Choreographer is Imani G. Alexander. Yes, dancing is included with some of the songs as well. Costume designs are by Kim DeShazo, scenic design by Alex Kolmonovskky, lighting design by William Adashek, and prop designs by Sofia Cassidy.
Side By Side By Sondheim will be performed at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, through Sept. 16. For dates and times, as well as for reservations, call (310) 477-2055, or go online at www.OdysseyTheatre.com.