Friday, September 18, 2015

Putting It Together

Words and Music by: Stephen Sondheim

Devised by: Stephen Sondheim & Julia McKenzie

Venue:  The SaGaJi Theater, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs CO

Running Time:  2 hours (includes 15 minute intermission) 

Date of Performance:  Friday, September 11, 2015.

L-R:  Scott RC Levy, Sally Lewis Hybl, Max Ferguson, Mackenzie Sherburne,  Jordan Leigh

"The art of making art is putting it together
bit by bit..."

From Sunday in the Park with George, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

If you like Broadway musicals, you probably love Stephen Sondheim.  He’s the reigning master of the medium, writing music and lyrics for hit shows including West Side Story, Gypsy, Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd, to name a few.  The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) brings Sondheim’s musical magic to the stage in Putting It Together, through September 27.
Jordan Leigh

Putting It Together is a musical melange of nearly 30 of Sondheim’s songs, opening with Sondheim’s commentary on the creative process from the Sunday in the Park with George.  Director/Choreographer Nathan Halvorson has channeled Sondheim’s message, making art by putting it together, bit by precious bit.  Those bits include a powerhouse cast, a small but accomplished orchestra, gorgeous costumes, some fun choreography and a creative two level set.  It all comes together for two hours of music and fun.
Mackenzie Sherburne

The five person ensemble puts it together with some of the best voices on any Colorado stage.  Whether they’re singing as the company or solo, this cast rocks the house.  Mackenzie Sherburne puts a spell on the audience in The Miller’s Son, and stuns in her duet with Max Ferguson for Bang!.  Arguably the most beautifully executed song in the show, Bang! sizzles with choreography that includes actors stomping on a table.  

Ferguson stands out in Marry Me a Little, putting his heart and soul into Sondheim’s tender love song.  Sally Hybl has a powerful voice, and she uses it to magnificent effect in Getting Married Today.  Hybl zips through numerous tempo changes, delivering lyrics at the speed of a machine gun without missing a word, a note or a beat.  
Bang! (Mackenzie Sherburne, Max Ferguson)

Jordan Leigh packs a powerful punch in Sorry-Grateful, Sondheim’s ode to the conflicted feelings that come with relationships.  Scott RC Levy, usually behind the scenes, is onstage forPutting It Together, full throttle, singing, dancing, and cutting up with the cast.  When he sings I Could Drive A Person Crazy, there are no skeptics in the audience.

Sally Hybl.
Putting It Together is about the music.  While there’s no story here, there are themes, including love, marriage, seduction, infidelity and conflict.  Sondheim’s lyrics express those themes, but the chemistry of the cast is what sells them.  This is an ensemble that, from the opening, creates real characters and real emotions. 

If I chose the music, Putting It Together would have turned out differently.  There are so many magnificent Sondheim songs, it’s difficult to choose which to include in a two hour show.  That said, some of his most popular songs did not make the cut.  You will not hear Maria, Tonight, nor anything else from West Side Story.  Nor will you hear Send in the Clowns.  Sondheim collaborated on Putting It Together, so the result is more his favorites than mine.
Scott RC Levy

Sondheim has created timeless music, and FAC uses it to make art.  Bit by bit, song by song, FAC’s Putting It Together is a delicious treat for all.  


This show closes on September 27, 2015.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Jeff Kearney



Producing Artistic Director:  Scott RC Levy

Director/Choreographer: Nathan Halvorson

Musical Director:  Sharon Skidgel

Scenic design: Christopher L. Sheley

Lighting Design:  Holly Anne Rawls

Costume Design:  Janson Fangio

Sound Design:  Alex Ruhlin


The Younger Man:  Max Ferguson

The Wife:  Sally Lewis Hybl 

The Husband:  Jordan Leigh

The Other Man:  Scott RC Levy

The Younger Woman:  Mackenzie Sherburne

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