By Michael Reubens
Musical reviews by Stephen Sondheim have come and gone and graced the world stages for decades and in many formats and languages. I, for one, grew up in London in the sixties and fondly remember Millicent Martin in “Side by Side by Sondheim”, a smash pastiche of delicious music and lyrics by America’s genius, which went onto Broadway and beyond.
This latest incarnation SondheimMontage: 40 songs in 7 pieces in 70 minutes does wonders and more as we are given a relaxing musical evening of 7 pieces, as illustrated in the title above, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 42nd Street, NYC.
KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar perform superbly and compliment each other as they belt out, serenade and harmonize a selection of Sondheim’s mega hits from top shows including Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, Company, Anyone Can Whistle, Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music and Follies.
From Our Time (Merrily) to Broadway Baby (Follies), there’s never a dull moment as Sullivan and Harnar whisk us through a show sans intermission.
KT Sullivan is a delight, her comedic timing with Buddy’s Blues (Follies) is sheer magic. I can imagine KT in a revival of Night Music, playing Desiree, a role created by Glynis Johns and Jeff as the MC in Cabaret.
Could I leave you (Follies) heart on your sleeve emotional by Jeff was brilliant and Send in the Clowns (Night Music) was beautifully performed by both.
Just three out of seven of my personal favorites guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes, smiles to your face and a standing ovation at shows end.
Sondra Lee directs with aplomb, managing to re-invent production norms by gender-bending interpretations and in this day and age of LGBTQ and a topsy-turvey world in which we live, succeeds admirably. Jon Weber, the Musical Direcor, complements the performers with his lovely piano accompaniment.
This is not the first time variations on a theme by Sondheim have had these two talented artistes perform and I truly doubt it will be the last.
*The Laurie Beechman Theatre is in the West Bank Café at 407 West 42nd Street at 9th Avenue, in Manhattan.
Tel +1 212 352 3101
The next performance will be August 15th with more concert performances to follow. Both Sullivan and Harnar will also be performing their own individual shows in September at this and other Manhattan venues.