Putting it Together
"Art isn’t easy" is a line from the title song of this Stephen Sondheim revue. But the cast and crew of Watertower Theatre’s production of "Putting It Together" sure make it look easy. Director Terry Martin has assembled one of the slickest and tightest ensembles seen on a stage this season.
Sondheim along with Julia McKenzie devised the revue and selected which songs from the Sondheim catalog to include. With some exceptions Sondheim songs can be performed within the context of its play or performed on its own, which is why the majority of the great Broadway divas include a Sondheim section in their concerts.
In this revue the songs are arranged in a manner that lightly follows the follies of two couples; a middle-aged couple who are drifting apart and a younger couple just coming together. A fifth character is included, who acts as a quasi-emcee and who often announces the theme of the proceeding song, as in "Seduction" or "Desperation."
Spry John Campione plays the emcee character with a devilish twinkle in his eye. Bob Hess, looking quite debonair in his tux, plays the middle-aged gentleman and has some lovely moments early in the show with "Do I Hear A Waltz" and "Hello Little Girl."
Sarah Elizabeth Smith plays the younger woman. Smith is a knockout; at this stage in her career she can pull off a character or the ingénue as shown in the blazingly hot "Sooner or Later."
One of DFW’s finest actresses, Diana Sheehan, as the middle-aged pretty woman and sporting a chic bob, triumphs in two of Sondheim’s best known pieces: "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Not Getting Married Today," the latter of which nearly stops the show. Talented, handsome Alex Organ as the younger man has his own show-stopping moment with "Marry Me, Just A Little." And the entire company shines brightly in "Being Alive."
Watertower’s "Putting It Together" works on all levels. It’s akin to buying a new CD; you’ll want to see this production over and over.