by Anna Nayfa
Photos by Gabby Valentine
Theatre Sewanee presented its first production of the year, Side by Side by Sondheim: a collection of entertaining songs composed by Stephen Sondheim. The revue’s title is from Sondheim’s song “Side by Side” in the musical Company. The satirical and comical revue opened on Oct. 17 and closed on Oct. 25. This Tony Award nominated musical was an entertaining and funny way to start off the production year. The musical’s array of pieces was tied together by common themes and the narrator’s commentary. The narrator would give the audience a synopsis every few songs to outline what would happen next. Recurring themes included marriage and love, represented by“Love is in the Air” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and “Getting Married Today” from the musical Company.
While the director originally intended to cast five actors, Theatre Sewanee included ten actors in the production. The company consisted of Elise Anderson (C’16), Chase Brantley (C’15), Will Burton-Edwards (C’18), Max Hagan (C’16), Kalynn Harrington (C’18), Sarah High (C’15), Charlotte LaNasa (C’16), Megan Quick (C’15), Audrey Tchoukoua (C’16), and Huntre Woolwine (C’16). The role of the narrator was played by Director Peter Smith and the songs were accompanied by pianists Katherine Anderson and Ray Gotko. The company’s costumes were designed by Professor Jennifer Matthews, who dressed the actors for each song. The costumes ranged from elegant in the song “Send in the Clowns” from Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, to erotic in “Gotta Get a Gimmick” from the Broadway musical Gypsy. This musical revue was split into two acts, with 29 songs. The number of actors differed based on the song, going from solo acts, to duets, to the whole company singing. The musical was summarized in a “Conversation Piece” (a medley of Sondheim’s work) performed by the whole company. The upbeat “Side by Side” concluded the musical, which involved the audience in a sing-along.