WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts will stage the delightful musical tribute “Sondheim on Sondheim” March 16-18 in the university’s Page Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public. Reserve tickets now at bit.ly/sondheim2023.
This revue of Stephen Sondheim’s work features the appearance of the master teacher himself. Video clips of Sondheim narrating the progression of his writing career provides insights into the mind of Broadway’s most revered musical theatre writer, as well as the world of the Broadway business. Humorous and heartfelt, the cast embodies some new arrangements which transcend their original settings. Come and enjoy old favorites from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Company,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods,” “Follies,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Passion,” “Assassins,” and more.
The show was conceived and originally directed on Broadway by James Lapine.
This is the final theatre performance under the direction of Judy Myers, who is retiring after 24 years of service. Shows run 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 16-18, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 18. “Sondheim on Sondheim” is production number 42 for Myers at Saint Mary’s, including 18 musicals, 20 plays, and four Candlelight revues. Additionally, Myers chaired the department for almost 10 years.
“Stephen Sondheim’s career pretty much took off with his production of ‘Company’ in 1970,” Myers said. “I was a seventh-grader at the time and knew nothing about him. However, when I was offered the opportunity to work on ‘Sweeney Todd’ in my junior year of undergraduate school, I discovered the treasure trove and have been obsessed with his work ever since. For me it is the sheer genius of lyric construction and music composition that allows actor and score to become one in the storytelling. You may not be able to hum that melody when you leave the theater, but you will be taken on a journey of human experience and artistic vision that you won’t forget.”
Myers added that Sondheim considered himself a teacher and was invested in students. “His direction to them was always simple and direct; getting to the heart of the characters’ needs and actions. When he talks about teaching at the end of this production, I am reminded every time that his sentiments align with my own career goals. And, I hope that the past 24 years of teaching at Saint Mary’s has provided a similar foundation for my own students. Choosing this piece for my last production at Saint Mary’s was ideal in terms of providing an appropriate platform for the talents of the students finishing their majors. I am very proud of this cast for stepping up to this challenging material. I think it is an appropriate finale for my academic career.”
The cast includes Aidan Indhal ’25, Gabrielle Johnson ’23, Katie Kitchen ’23, Shawn Mugo ’24, Emma Paquette ’23, Gunnar Rorholm ’23, Isabel Sugrue ’23 and Sam Wersch ’23 with lighting by Isaac Worple ’23.
Music director is Ian Schultz; choreographer is Claire Penning; scenic designer is Niffer Pflager; costume designer is Anastasia Goodwin; stage manager is Brittany Clipsham; and sound engineer is Robert J. Stuber.