A new Sondheim revue in the SF Bay Area, "Being Alive, A Sondheim Celebration"
Posted by: rossde 02:00 am EDT 06/10/24

There have been many revues of Sondheim's work, notably Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Putting it Together (1993), and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). Add to those another new one by director Robert Kelley here at Theatreworks Silicon Valley. It’s called Being Alive, A Sondheim Celebration and it’s the first one after Sondheim’s death in 2021.

Robert Kelley describes it in the program notes as if it’s a puzzle. He wanted to write a revue using Sondheim’s take on love and relationships but Music Theatre International had some restrictions. While Kelley had all of the canon to draw from where Sondheim wrote words and music, Kelley could use no more than three songs from any one show and only three additional songs from the existing Sondheim revues. He finally chose 36 songs from the 334 songs he had available.

The result is a show with an imaginative thruline that starts with friendship and then into courtship, marriage, children, marital difficulty and ending with the title song. Its actually fun to hear Our Time at the beginning of a show instead of at the end as it is in Merrily. Other imaginative uses of songs are spread throughout the production including the use of songs from Saturday Night, Pacific Overtures and Road Show. The six actors play all the roles and do a great job with difficult material.

I highly recommend the show to all Sondheim fans.

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