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Friday, September 12, 2008

Alliance Theatre plans world premiere Sondheim revue

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Earlier this year, the Alliance Theatre had to backtrack a little when it rescheduled its intriguing-sounding world premiere musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County by Stephen King and John Mellencamp. The Alliance has found a high profile replacement for the horror novelist and rock 'n' roller, however in acclaimed musical writer-director James Lapine, who will develop a world premiere musical dedicated to the 79 year-old Stephen Sondheim, one of the greatest talents in American theater.

From April 15-May 10, the Tony-winning playhouse will present iSondheim: aMusical Revue. The funky punctuation signals that, according to the press release:

Unlike other previous Sondheim revues, this spectacular multi-media production will feature original and archival commentary from the legendary composer.

Lapine last visited the Alliance to direct The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee to launch its 2006 national tour. Lapine is a longtime collaborator with Sondheim, having directed and wrote the books for the acclaimed Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. Young filmgoers may know Sondheim best as the originator of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (pictured). For a handy recap of Sonheim's career and importance, check out this "Primer" from The Onion A.V. Club.

Incidentally, I suspect that Alliance Theatre Associate Artistic Director Kent Gash is particularly excited. He directed the Alliance's lovely 2003 revival of Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, and is a Sondheim fan from way back.

(Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures)

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