BWW Review: ANTHONY DE MARE Brings Majesty and Mastery for THE LIAISONS PROJECT at Hayes Theatre
We've all felt the sensation where we talk fondly about artistic legends from our time only to discover someone younger or of another genre having no idea and genuinely concerning you that your icons might be lost someday entirely, and what a sad day that would be. That's where absolute miracle artists like Anthony de Mare come in, reinventing and reimagining this legendary work to renew its life, transform it to become relevant to new and broadening audiences as he has done with the work of Stephen Sondheim for The Liaisons Project.
For readers drawing a blank here, Sondheim is the musical mastermind behind such works as Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Company and Sunday in the Park with George. Behind classics 'Not While I'm Around' and 'Send in the Clowns', it would be a hard task to augment or amend the composer in any way, but Anthony de Mare in partnership with Sondheim himself has engineered the collaboration of phenomenal talents the world over to do just that. A talented pianist himself, de Mare presented an intimate compilation of the project to a theatre where a pin-drop could be heard due to the reverence and emotion in the room evoked by de Mare's playing of the inventive and inspired compositions.
By taking out the idiosyncratic lyrics and melodies that so identify Sondheim, the raw musical engineering is exposed most exquisitely. Fred Hersch's 'No One is Alone' is heightened, Daniel Bernard Roumain's 'Another Hundred People' is finessed and broadened. Very rarely is a performance so informative, as it is inspirational, allowing audiences insight into composition, the greats of the industry and how instrumental arrangements have been crowded out in a way that needs review in contemporary music. Anthony de Mare's The Liaisons Project was more than a cabaret, it was an awakening.