Performing Arts: Music
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 AimeƩ 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 human relationships."

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

©2001 Eye and Dance and the Arts | All Rights Reserved