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New Jersey by Bob Rendell

You're Gonna Love Tomorrow: Musical Revue Spotlights Lesser Known Music and Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim

Also see Bob's reviews of Oliver Twist and Topdog/Underdog

You're Gonna Love Tomorrow
The Company
Bickford Theatre audiences are being presented with You're Gonna Love Tomorrow, an evening of the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim thoughtfully and lovingly directed by producer and Sondheim aficionado Eric Hafen. Although the format of the revue and the quality of the talent on hand do not rise to as high a level as one would hope, there is certainly sufficient quality in the songs and performances to provide a rewarding evening's entertainment for local audiences.

This one act revue with continuity by Paul Lazarus was first produced in 1983 under the title A Stephen Sondheim Evening at the Sotheby Parke Bernet Galleries, with Angela Lansbury, Judy Kaye, George Hearn, and Stephen Sondheim himself. It is one of five licensed Sondheim revues originally produced between 1976 (Side By Side by Sondheim and 2010 (Sondheim on Sondheim).

Although the songs are presented to a considerable degree in chronological order, the opening song is the delightful "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" from Sondheim's adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs.

Twice, early on, the spoken text sets the songs in the context of their shows. First, we are presented with what feels like a mini version of Saturday Night. It is set in Brooklyn in 1929 and depicts very young men on a porch trying to find dates on Saturday nights, along with those some manage to land. The three songs and a reprise have a charm and continuity which is most pleasing. Although it didn't receive a New York production until 2000, it was written by a young Sondheim in 1955.

A little bit later, there is a second less successful mini-musical adaptation of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with some lesser known songs including "The House of Marcus Lycus" (which, in the evening's biggest misstep, has one of the men dressed as a courtesan), and two songs which were cut from Forum, "The Echo Song" and the Miles Gloriosus' paean to battle, "There's Something About A War".

The balance of the songs are mostly grouped to sustain mood. While there are varying amounts of context provided for some of the songs, You're Gonna Love Tomorrow now pivots from show to show with each new song. Show logos digitally projected on a screen identify their provenance.

Adrianne Hicks, whose interpretation and vocalization of Sondheim's lyrics are consistently strong, does full justice to "Send in the Clowns." I regret that her "Another Hundred People" is truncated here as it seems that she is on the way to delivering the terrifying, escalating desperation that too few interpreters bring to this musical masterpiece. Michael Padgett brings a stalwartly pleasing voice to his songs. I was especially pleased by his "Johanna."

Patrick John Moran brings a nice comic touch to his roles. He excels along with Hicks on their duet of "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow," and Danny Arnold and Tamara Hayes are at their best on their counterpoint duet of "Love Will See Us Through." Lindsay Wood appeared to be having vocal problems for most of the evening at the performance I attended, but did manage a respectable "The Miller's Son."

The four-piece orchestra (piano, violin, bass and percussion) does a bang-up job on the orchestrations by Tom Fay. The piano of conductor-pianist Nick DeGregorio is the driving force for the evening's most thrilling and persuasive presentation, "Someone in a Tree." The song with its introduction is a perfect brief one act play, and, as played by these musicians (and sung by Padgett, Arnold, Hayes and Moran), it is an absolute joy.

You're Gonna Love Tomorrow continues performances (Evenings: Fridays and Saturday (9/29 AND 10/13) Matinees.: Thursdays, Sundays & Saturday (10/6) 2 pm) through October 14, 2012, at the at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960, Box Office: 973-971-3706; online: www.bickfordtheatre.org.

You're Gonna Love Tomorrow Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim/ Continuity by Paul Lazarus; directed by Eric Hafen

Cast:
Danny Arnold
Tamara Hayes
Adrianne Hicks
Patrick John Moran
Michael Padgett
Lindsay Wood


Photo: Warren Westura


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- Bob Rendell



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