2001 marks the end of era for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. After fourteen years as artistic director, Jon Bailey retires from the choir, handing over the reins to Bruce Mayall — but not without a proper good bye. He conducts a send-off concert entitled Simply Sondheim and starring Into the Woods and TV star Joanna Gleason July 13-15.
Among the Sondheim selections will be "Our Time," "Not a Day Goes By," "Old Friends" and "A Good Thing Going" from Merrily We Roll Along, "No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods, "Could I Leave You?" and "Loveland" (sung by Gleason) from Follies, "Being Alive" and "Getting Married Today" from Company and a "Sweeney Todd Rhapsody" arranged by Bob Krogstadt.
Gleason won a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Award for her portrayal of the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods. Other Broadway credits include Nick and Nora, Social Security, Joe Egg, The Real Thing and I Love My Wife, for which she won the Theatre World Award. On television, she has appeared on "Love and War," "Bette," "Friends," "E.R." and "King of the Hill."
Bailey became artistic director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles in 1987 after leading choirs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music. In 1982, He took a position at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where he will still teach part-time after he retires. In 2000, Bailey received a LIfetime Achievement Award from the International Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. Since he took over the chorus, they have produced eight CDs, doubled in size and gone on several national and international tours, sometimes with stage, film or TV celebrities headlining their concerts.
Tickets to the Simply Sondheim concerts are $15-$35. The Alex Theatre is located at 216 North Brand Boulevard. For reservations, call (800) MEN-SING. — By Christine Ehren