Stephen Sondheim to Join Pre-Concert Discussion at Ravinia's Anyone Can Whistle

News   Stephen Sondheim to Join Pre-Concert Discussion at Ravinia's Anyone Can Whistle Award-winning composer Stephen Sondheim will join Ravinia Festival president and CEO Welz Kauffman for a pre-concert discussion prior to the Aug. 26 concert staging of Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle.

The pre-concert chat will be held in the Ravinia's 3,200-seat Pavilion and will also be broadcast to the audiences on the lawn. The discussion is scheduled to begin at 6:45 with the evening's presentation of Anyone Can Whistle commencing at 8 PM.

Whistle is part of the Ravinia's Sondheim 75 series, a five year salute to the works of the famed composer that culminates this summer during the year of Sondheim's 75th birthday. The quirky musical will play Aug. 26-27 in the Pavilion with a cast that boasts Tony Award winners Patti LuPone (as Cora Hoover), Audra McDonald (as Fay Apple) and Michael Cerveris (as Hapgood). All three have been part of previous Sondheim productions at the Ravinia. The concerts will also feature "Frasier" star John Mahoney as Narrator.

Anyone Can Whistle will be directed by Lonny Price with musical direction by Paul Gemignani. The concert will use a version of the musical created by composer Sondheim and book writer Arthur Laurents that was presented at Carnegie Hall with Bernadette Peters and the late Madeline Kahn in the lead roles.

There is also a possibility that the Sondheim 75 celebration may continue after the 2005 season. Kauffman, president and CEO of Ravinia, recently told the Chicago Sun-Times, "We've asked Steve about extending the project, and he was willing. This series has been a wonderful success for us, adding a new flavor to the mix for the traditional Ravinia audience." About the upcoming presentation of Whistle Kauffman said, "I just think that Anyone Can Whistle has a poignant, gorgeous score, and that it's great to go back to such an early work and see what Sondheim was doing in the early 1960s — a very political time."

With a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents, Anyone Can Whistle opened at the Majestic Theatre April 4, 1964, with a cast led by multi-Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick, Harry Guardino, Gabriel Dell, Arnold Soboloff, James Frawley, Peg Murray, Don Doherty, Sterling Clark, Harvey Evans, Larry Roquemore and Tucker Smith. Although the musical played but 21 performances, the Sondheim score contained several thrilling songs: “Me and My Town,” “There Won’t Be Trumpets,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Everybody Says Don’t” and “With So Little To Be Sure Of.” For tickets or more information, visit www.ravinia.org.

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