BWW Reviews: Chromolume Theatre Really Puts It Together in PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Chromolume Theatre succeeds in putting together a strong cast of five vocally gifted singers to harmoniously perform the collection of Stephen Sondheim songs strung together in the revue Putting It Together. Originally performed in 1999, Putting It Together has the loose plot of two couples and a bartender interacting at a Hollywood party. Fortunately, the selection of songs pulled from Sondheim's various hits do actually make as much sense in context of this party as they did in their original shows. But the "plot's" inconsequential to enjoying what could also titled "Sondheim's Greatest Hits." Cate Caplin has smoothly directed her troupe at a fast clip, also choreographing clever dancing bits for all to ably perform.
A must-see for Sondheim aficionados, as each of the talented five have moments to shine individually and in tandem. Mike Irizarry (the narrator, bartender, and comic relief) winsomely opens the show with the witty "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience." Then the rest of the cast (Kurt Andrew Hansen coupled with Kristin Towers-Rowles, and Rachel Hirshee paired with Chris Kerrigan) join Irizarry onstage in a beautifully harmonic version of the title song "Putting It Together."
Hansen and Towers-Rowles' so wonderful as the older married couple loving, fighting, negotiating. Very easy to see them as a real husband and wife as their chemistry's most evident between them.
Interesting choice to have the coupling of Kerrigan and Hershee portrayed with the awkward disconnect of a first date. Previous versions usually have the younger couple all adorable and lovey-dovey. Both over try to make the date work, but one or both realize the lack of sparks between them and amiably plug away through the evening.
Without listing all of the close to 30 songs, stand-outs include: Hansen's gorgeous baritone in "Good Thing Going," Irizarry's very effective "Buddy's Blues," Kerrigan's and Hansen's beautiful duet of "Pretty Women," Hirshee and Towers-Rowles' dueling sopranos in "Lovely," Towers-Rowles' hysterical machine-gun delivery of "Getting Married Today." Hats off to Towers-Rowles for tackling the late Elaine Stritch's classic signature song "The Ladies Who Lunch." I'm sure Ms. Stritch, not generous with compliments, would have at least smiled at Towers-Rowles' valiant effort. Nice choice to have "Being Alive," usually sung as a solo, performed by the entire cast allowing their heavenly voices alternately solo and mingle in stunning accord.
Kudos to musical director/pianist Richard Berent for his on-point accompaniment, serving as the essential backbone of this musical.