Students honor Sondheim with musical review

Student performers are bringing the work of song- writer Stephen Sondheim to life in a production of “Putting it Together,” a musical review of the Broadway legend’s hits spanning his entire career. Written by Julia McKenzie and Sondheim himself, the review will be performed by the Gen- eseo department of music and has previously been performed in Oxford, England and on Broadway. “We really had to be the book writers for the show,” senior CJ Roche––who plays the unfaith- ful male lead John––said. “All of us, including Melanie [Blood] and Don [Kot] created our own plot for the show. It’s not a very complicated plot and it is similar to the Broadway production. It’s interesting that we got to create our own characters.”

Given that this review has neither dialogue nor a rigid plot, the performers were faced with the unique challenge of creating characters essentially out of thin air.

“It’s very crucial to have that kind of emotional con- nection––especially in terms of your character––because there isn’t a lot of dialogue,” sophomore Ben Ranalli––Paul in the show–– said. “You can’t really get across a lot of your emotions except through the songs.”

Senior Megan McCaffrey, who portrays the character of Elaine, added, “He’s very quick- witted and clever.”

Professor of theater and di- rector Melanie Blood, lecturer of music and musical director Don Kot and student perform- ers have adapted the plot to fol- low the relationships of various attendees of a swanky dinner party. The original production

With no spoken dialogue oc- curring whatsoever, the entirety of the plot is conveyed through songs from Sondheim’s reper- toire. Many of the numbers appear as they did in their original form, but some had to be altered in or- der to fit in with the themes of this production.

“We would rehearse song by song,” sophomore Nicole Eras–– who portrays Joanne–said. “It was very hard to get our characters un- til we did the entire run-through; then you can actually see who our characters are, what they do and their relationships with others. Before then, we were just singing songs.”

For those in the perfor- mance, the opportunity to adapt the work of Sondheim was a truly special one. Sond- heim is one of the most revered figures in the history of musical theater, a fact evidently not lost on the cast.

“Putting it Together” had its first performance on Wednes- day Oct. 1 in the Robert Sinclair Black Box Theatre in Brodie Hall. The musical will also be performed on Thursday Oct. 2, Saturday Oct. 4 and Sunday Oct. 5. The performances are being dedicated to Alan Case, a fac- ulty member of the department of music for over 30 years who passed away this summer.