Review Roundup: Keen Company's MARRY ME A LITTLE
The Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Keen Company presents Marry Me A Little, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, directed by Keen Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein, starring Lauren Molina and Jason Tam. Marry Me A Little kicks off their 2012 - ’13 season and will be followed by a newly revised version of the 1991 play, The Old Boy by A.R. Gurney. Performances will continue through October 27th, with two additional Wednesday matinees on October 17th and 24th.
Marry Me A Little is choreographed by Dan Knechtges (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Xanadu - Tony® Award nomination, 110 in the Shade, and Sondheim on Sondheim) and has set design by Steven Kemp, costume design by Jennifer Paar, lighting design by Josh Bradford, and prop design by Ricola Willie. Musical Director will be John Bell.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: Throughout the trim 70-minute production, it’s clear that these two are meant for each other. Molina overpowers Tam in the vocal department, but they both have a relaxed charm and look terrific in their underwear.
Jennifer Farrar, Associated Press: Tam, a strong singer, performs with confidence and grace, easily projecting ambivalence, yearning or any emotion called for. Molina, winsome and touching, has a lovely, clear soprano voice that's occasionally drowned out by the over-enthusiastic piano. She sings a stirring version of the exuberant "There Won't Be Trumpets" from "Anyone Can Whistle." Their duets together are delightful, especially the romantic "A Moment With You."
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: Performing alone and together, Tam and Molina, who also plays cello, are game and appealing — no more, no less. Her teary take on the title song impressed, as did his rousing “Happily Ever After.” They blended sweetly on the wistful “So Many People.”
Linda Winer, Newsday: Unfortunately, director Jonathan Silverstein's staging for his Keen Company has none of the wistful charm and emotional depth of the original. Lauren Molina and Jason Tam play the sort of hip young beauties who can easily be imagined on the way out to a club.
Matt Windman, amNY: The revue's real selling point is its use of little-known Sondheim songs, including ones from his first musical "Saturday Night," which was written in the 1950s but not produced until half a century later, as well as songs cut from "Follies," "Company" and "A Little Night Music." As any Sondheim fan knows, his outtakes are still superb.
Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly: Though I could have done without 'Bring on the Girls' — sung by Tam while cradling his MacBook — the new-for-this-production numbers are mostly treats. The gorgeous 'If You Can Find Me, I'm Here' — from the 1966 four-song teleplay Evening Primrose — proves a stellar opener. (Note to collectors: You can now get Primrose, which stars a post-Psycho Anthony Perkins and a fresh–from–Sound of Music Charmain Carr, on DVD.) And even die-hard Sondheim fans will likely never have heard the lush 'Rainbows,' written for an as-yet-unmade Into the Woods film. Fingers crossed that it gets into the version Rob Marshall (Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) is working on; it's a wonderful glass-half-full/glass-half-empty ballad, envisioned as a duet between the childless Baker and his wife.
Michael Sommers, NJ Newsroom: The director dresses the actors in rather ugly contemporary clothes (Jennifer Paar is the costume designer) and gives them hand-held electronic devices to suggest nowadays communications. But when Him sings “Bring on the Girls,” he is cruising a porno site on his laptop. And when Her wriggles through a blatantly single-entendre interpretation of “Boy, Can That Boy Fox-Trot,” she is sexting racy photos.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety: It takes great determination and no little effort to screw up "Marry Me a Little," the charming 1980 pocket musical that Craig Lucas and the late Norman Rene cleverly engineered from songs that were cut from Stephen Sondheim musicals. Without reconfiguring the dialogue-free storyline about two lonely strangers who are destined to meet (after pouring out their hearts in song), helmer and Keen Company a.d. Jonathan Silverstein manage to make some spectacularly bad choices -- starting with the decision to hook up these sensitive souls to social networking websites.