MORRISTOWN, NJ – Artistic Director Eric Hafen has assembled a six member talented cast to present a pastiche of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and music.
One of the nifty features of this collection is the opportunity to hear some of the songs from musicals you may have missed, such as “Pacific Overtures,” “Anyone Can Whistle” or “Merrily We Roll Along.”
The show even goes back to Sondheim’s first musical, “Saturday Night,” written in 1954. The lyrics and music are jaunty and fine, ranging from “It’s That Kind of Neighborhood” to “This is Nice, Isn’t It?” Another early show was “The Frogs,” with its “Invocation” that starts off the evening.
But there are some lovely, familiar touches as well, such as “Send in the Clowns” from “A Little Night Music.” It’s hauntingly sung by Adrianne Hick, a super talented singer who also plays the cello. Her interpretation of “Being Alive” and “Another Hundred People” from “Company” are also winners.
And, my personal favorite Sondheim play: “Follies,” is represented. Both “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow and “Love Will See Us Through” are performed expertly by a quartet of singers, capturing those nuances that only Sondheim can provide.
Michael Padgett sings the powerful “Johanna” from “Sweeney Todd” that had the audience cheering. Patrick John Moran brings a lighter note to the proceedings with his off-beat rendition of “Pretty Little Picture” from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Although this is one of my least favorite Sondheim musicals, the cast brings it to life in a way that makes it accessible and spirited, including ”The House of Marcus” and “The Echo Song.” .Their presentation of “There’s Something About A War” highlights the gleeful absurdity of this number in a way that often gets lost in major productions.
“Pacific Overtures” has been considered a long, difficult musical, but both “Poems” and “Someone in a Tree” come to life. Danny Arnold is especially moving as an elderly Japanese man.
Tamara Hayes provides a variety of personas and is heart-rending with “Not a Day Goes By” from “Merrily We Roll Along.” Lindsay Wood has moments to shine, especially with “The Miller’s Son” from “ A Little Night Music.”
Musical direction is provided by Nick DeGregorio, with musical staging by Laurie Piro and Patrick John Moran.
Don’t miss this opportunity to treat yourself to a light-hearted, smart and touching production with a cast that knows how to deliver.