Performing Arts presents Sondheim on Sondheim February 25‒28

February 05, 2016

He’s been hailed as one of the most significant figures in modern musical theatre, and Lees-McRae College’s Performing Arts program will present some of Stephen Sondheim’s best music in Sondheim on Sondheim February 25‒28 at Hayes Auditorium.

The musical revue is a compilation of 41 songs from some of Sondheim’s most well-known productions. The show is built around recorded interviews with the master composer and lyricist which are projected onto the stage. The interviews outline the high points of his career and introduce his songs, many of which were cut from performances and are relatively unknown.

“Sondheim is a phenomenon in musical theatre, and this show illustrates his song-writing genius showing audiences a little of his process,” said director Dr. Michael Hannah, associate professor of performing arts at Lees-McRae. “Some of the songs included in the show underwent changes as the various musicals changed, so we see how he adapted some songs for new characters and new situations.”

The revue is not strictly chronological but moves fluidly through Sondheim’s career, augmented by his comments about particular songs or musicals. “As a Sondheim fan, I’m particularly interested in why a song is changed during the production process or why it’s cut completely,” Hannah said. “These are like little gems that we may not know as well as his more famous songs.”

The College offers a BFA in Musical Theatre, and Hannah wanted to offer young singers, as well as other performing arts students, a challenging production. “I wanted to give a lot of students a chance to perform,” Hannah said. “The cast of 22 singers is much larger than the original production, but that means we can provide audiences with a much wider range of singing, and more students get the chance to learn about one of our musical theatre masters.”

The cast and live band will perform songs from classic musicals including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, West Side Story, A Little Night Music, Sweeny Todd, Company, Anyone Can Whistle, Into the Woods, Passion and Follies.

Sondheim on Sondheim runs February 25‒27 at 7:30 p.m. and February 28 at 2 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium on the Lees-McRae campus. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students. Tickets are sold at the door one hour before show time. For more information, call 828.898.8709.

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