I’m changing things up for the first review post, as this show isn’t a local production as I’d usually see. I was visiting Boston and was fortunate enough to get tickets to Lyric Stage Company’s production of Sondheim on Sondheim. Stephen Sondheim is perhaps my favorite Broadway composer and a personally a life-savor, so seeing this show meant a great deal to me.
And what a show it was. As the Boston Globe describes in their article, Sondheim becomes a sort of ninth character in this eight person revue that includes a breadth of songs across his career and prerecorded interviews and conversations with him about his personal life and work, projected on screens above the ensemble. This show, however, is more than just a showcase or jukebox-style musical. It exhibits the journey of a person and growth of an artist through the interweaving of biographical elements and performed songs from much-loved shows. The use of music isn’t so much biographical as it is an exhibit of Sondheim’s skill and power of creating character and story, though it ties wonderfully into Sondheim’s personal recollections, and allows the performers (and audience members) to pay homage to someone who is likely one of their biggest inspirations. Not only did I learn a great deal about Sondheim and his work habits, I got to relish in both the technical and emotional impact of pieces such as “Being Alive,” “The Gun Song” and “Send in the Clowns,” as well as hearings songs cut from various shows.
The cast was wonderful and, while I’m no native Bostonian familiar with the actors, they seemed to know each other well and this added a wonderful, close-knit element to the performance. I would love to see this show performed in the Twin Cities and allow our artists to celebrate Sondheim in the same way.