Sondheim on Sondheim, Exploring Life of Legendary Composer, Receives Los Angeles Premiere Tonight

News   Sondheim on Sondheim, Exploring Life of Legendary Composer, Receives Los Angeles Premiere Tonight
 
Sondheim on Sondheim, the musical exploration of the life of award-winning composer Stephen Sondheim, opens at the International City Theatre Oct. 16 following preview performances that began Oct. 14. 

The production, which marks the Los Angeles premiere of the musical, concludes International City Theatre's 30th anniversary season. DJ Gray directs the cast, which includes Stephanie Fredricks, Barbara Carlton Heart, Shaina Knox, Kevin McMahon, Jake Novak and Josh Wise. Gerald Sternbach provides musical direction.

The production runs through Nov. 8.

Here's how the production is billed: "Writing songs that reflect the complexity of his characters, Sondheim changed the way we define a great musical. Yet even though millions of fans know his songs by heart, few know much about Sondheim himself. Until now. Originally conceived as a tribute for Sondheim's 80th birthday party, Sondheim on Sondheim is a love letter from [James] Lapine to his friend and frequent collaborator. Exclusive video footage, in which Sondheim offers an inside look at his personal life and artistic process, is combined with sparkling-new arrangements of over two dozen Sondheim tunes."

"The show lets us in on Stephen's creative process," Gray, who assisted Lapine on the Broadway production, said in a previous statement. "In addition to the well-known songs, there are some that are more obscure, and some that ended up being cut all together from his musicals. It's fascinating to hear Stephen speak frankly about why those didn't work. He's candid, funny and charming. It's a unique window into how he works and what shaped him as an artist."

The eight-time Tony Award winner's works include the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy and the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion and Road Show. He has also been honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Academy Award, the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Music.

Conceived and originally directed by Lapine, Roundabout Theatre Company premiered Sondheim on Sondheim at its Studio 54 venue on Broadway in 2010. The production garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue and a Drama League Award for Distinguish Production of a Musical. The show was inspired by a concept by David Kernan. The video was created and designed by Peter Flaherty. Orchestrations are by Michael Starobin, and arrangements are by David Loud.

The ICT production features set design by Don Llewellyn, lighting design by Tom Ruzika, costume design by Kim DeShazo, sound design by Dave Mickey, props by Patty and Gordon Briles, wigs by Anthony Gagliardi and casting by Michael Donovan Casting. The production stage manager is Pat Loeb.

International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, CA. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at (562) 436-4610 or InternationalCityTheatre.org.

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