Side By Side By Sondheim – Coronado Playhouse, Coronado, CA

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If you love Stephen Sondheim, you’ll love Coronado Playhouse’s production of Side By Side By Sondheim. If you love the excellent voices of Brett Daniels, Lisa Goodman, Julia Celano, you’ll love Director Daniel Logan’s take on Side By Side By Sondheim. If you love the antics, both song styling and narrating, of Adrienne Rene, you’ll laugh with Side By Side By Sondheim. It is a true retrospective of Sondheim’s work through 1975 and a bit beyond. Now is the time for a full production of Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim, which has been performed once, March 19, 2005.

It is pure pleasure to hear the singers and narrator unencumbered with mikes and amplifiers in an acoustically balanced room. Tiffany Fenderson’s set is a multi-tiered collection of seemingly random risers. Dale Goodman developed a lighting design that took advantage of the unique set, highlighting each performer exactly right. This combination allows Logan to stage his cast in an almost infinite number of settings. His choreography adds even more to the revue. While the set design works well, the execution, while colorful, doesn’t have the crispness one would expect. Add the colorful costumes by Angela Wills and some amazing hats reminiscent of Mardi Gras.

While numbers from Company and Follies are featured often, the show revisits Gypsy and A Little Night Music as well as lesser known works such as Pacific Overtures, The Mad Show, Anyone Can Whistle, and more. Daniels’ “I Remember” from Evening Primrose wows the audience. Goodman and Celano’s Westside Story offering of “A Boy Like That” and “I have a Love” is so powerful it brings images of the stage production. Goodman vamping her way through “I Never Do Anything Twice” from The Seven Per Cent Solution, is met with thunderous applause. Celano’s “Broadway Baby” from Follies was an absolute joy to hear. And that’s exactly the way this night goes. Kirk Valles, Musical Director, deserves kudos for his work with this talented cast.

All one has to do is close one’s eyes and visualize the setting from any of the shows represented. Don’t close them too long or you’ll miss surprise moments. Rene presents many of those moments to us as she brings a very personal touch to her dialog. She is unbelievably animated, interacting and singing with the others.

This cast and their director prove that a revue can have almost all of the elements of a fully staged show. All it takes is excellence in all departments. This is one time when you can leave the theatre humming one of Sondheim’s songs. Don’t miss the music.

Cast

Adrienne Rene. Julia Celano, Lisa Goodman, Brett Daniels

Technical Staff

Producer Daniel Logan, Set Design Tiffany Fenderson, Lighting Design

Dale Goodman, Costume Design Angela Wills, Stage Manager Amy Covington, Lighting & Sound Operation Ron Hoyt

Total Rating: Three Stars

Genre: Musical Retrospective

Author: Music and Lyrics Stephen Sondheim, Additional Music by Leonard Bernstein

Director: Daniel Logan

Musical Director: Kirk Valles

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2007

Dates: Thursday thru Sunday, October 19 to November 25, 2007

Running Time: 128 minutes with a 15-minute intermission

The Coronado Playhouse – Community theatre

1775 Strand Way

Coronado, CA 92118

Box Office Phone: 619 435-4856

Robert Hitchcox is a playwright, critic and fiction author, who reviews live theatre.