The Cincinnati Playhouse has offered a steady diet of musicals by Stephen Sondheim over the past decade. If you’ve seen them, you might think you’re familiar with music by the legendary composer/lyricist. I have news for you: The current Shelterhouse production, Marry Me a Little, will feel like a new show, full of songs that are clearly Sondheim’s but seldom heard.
The show, which originated in 1980, is made up of 17 “trunk songs,” tunes written for un-produced shows or cut from productions before opening night. It was originally presented in a small Off-Off Broadway theater, featuring its “organizer,” actor Craig Lucas, who met Sondheim during the original production of Sweeney Todd. Sondheim gave the actor access to his notes and music and worked closely with him in creating the show, which featured Lucas and an actress as two people alone on a Saturday night in adjacent New York apartments.
Guest director Stafford Arima and his Playhouse cast, Sally Wilfert and Ben Eakeley, take this collection of songs and give it the atmosphere of everyday life for two single people yearning for love but not quite finding it.
Marry Me a Little is a show for Sondheim fans — and musical theater lovers. It offers something old and a lot that feels very new. Through June 14.
Read Rick Pender's review here.