Author: Clay Evans

CU Opera will kick it with Sondheim and friends, April 24-27

‘Side by Side’ is more than just a musical review

BOULDER, Colo. — Imagine hanging out with legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and a few of his closest friends—Bernadette Peters, Leonard Bernstein, Mandy Patinkin and others—as they chat and swing into some of his greatest works.

That’s what you’ll experience onstage when CU Opera performs “Side by Side by Sondheim” April 24-27.

“This show was originally put together as a review with narration,” says Director Leigh Holman. “We’ve taken it a bit further and set it at a party in Sondheim’s 1976 New York apartment, surrounded by his friends.”

A cast of nine will perform as the characters and sing a selection of the composer’s works from the 1950s to the mid-‘70s, featuring both well-known hits like “Send in the Clowns” and songs from “West Side Story,” and lesser-known songs.

“There are some tunes that people may never have heard before, but they’re all Sondheim—witty lyrics, funny, some big and brash, some intimate,” Holman says.

The show features period costumes, a two-level set and as much authenticity as possible. The performers were assigned to research their characters and more to get into their roles.

“They’ve had a good time learning how to make cocktails from the ‘70s, Harvey Wallbangers and the like,” Holman says, laughing.

Thomas Riis, professor of musicology and director of the American Music Research Center at CU-Boulder, will give a half-hour pre-curtain talk beginning one hour before each performance. Riis is an expert in musical theater and has published “Just Before Jazz,” about African-American Broadway shows, and “Frank Loesser,” a biography of the composer of “Guys and Dolls” and such hits as “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

“This program is a wonderful opportunity to learn about how he developed as a musician. I know audiences are going to love it,” Holman says.

Side by Side by Sondheim

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 24-26; 2 p.m. April 27

WHERE: Music Theatre, Imig Music building, University of Colorado Boulder

TICKETS: $16 and up

INFO: http://www.cupresents.org/events/side-side-sondheim or 303-492-8008

 

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