NYC CITY CENTER GALA
November 16, 2013
New York City Center celebrated their annual Gala with a special performance of A
Bed and A Chair, a new production starring the music of Stephen Sondheim. With
a stellar cast including Bernadette Peters, Jeremy Jordan, Norm Lewis and Cyrille
Aimeé singing, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton
Marsalis, the evening explores a " New York love affair, centered on the intensity of
Two couples contend with the difficulties, idiosyncrasies, and frustrations of
contemporary romantic life in the big city. Under the direction of John Doyle, the music
of Mr. Sondheim is as relevant and timely as ever. Arrangements by Mr. Marsalis
and the Jazz Orchestra, make the songs sparkle with soul and feeling. From "Another
Hundred People," to " Live Alone and Like It," to "Someone is Waiting," each song
allows the actors to inhabit different emotions, embracing the humor, resonance and
ardor of the wonderful lyrics.
As conceived by Mr. Doyle, Jack Viertel, and Peter Gethers, the heartache and drama
of the the cast of four is represented by four "shadows" who dance what isn't sung.
Meg Gillentine, Tyler Hanes, Grasan Kingsberry and the exquisite Elizabeth Parkinson
danced with energy and heart, bringing to life the choreography by Parker Esse. Using
only a bed and a chair (lyrics from "Broadway Baby") and simple accessories, such as
sweaters and bags, they reveal the place every New Yorker comes home to at the end
of a day.
An especially creative set of songs was a mash up of " The Ladies Who Lunch/Agony/
Can That Boy Foxtrot!/ Uptown/ Downtown and In Praise of Women, and the audience
loved it. There are few stars the caliber of Ms. Peters today, and she was a treat for
sure, but Mr. Sondheim's music and lyrics are a marvelous vehicle for each actor and
dancer to express the idea of the transient nature of relationships and the importance a
place to come home to. City Center Encores! is a wonderful opportunity to revisit and
enjoy a fresh perspective on American Broadway musical theater.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis