Side By Side Sondheim

Side By Side Sondheim

Directed by Bruce Earnest

Theater UCF, Orlando, FL

Let’s drop back a few decades to a more innocent time, when people went to analysts rather than health clubs, and a divorce wasn’t a badge of honor. This was the era when the New York stage set musical taste, and Stephen Sondheim ruled New York. Sondheim wrote more songs in more plays than almost anyone else. West Side Story , A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum , Gypsy , you name it, he wrote the tunes mommy and daddy hummed in the cab on their way back to the old penthouse. There’s a bit of plot, but never mind it, it won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the singing, dancing, and vamping around from this enthusiastic cast.

The songs are challenging, and the UCF students a good solid shot at winging them out to the audience. My favorite was Frank Holmes, who had the most powerful voice in this young cast. His duet with the promising young Julie Ruth (“We’re Gonna Be All Right”) captured the agony of a fraying marriage, even though neither singer was really old enough for their first divorce. Other standouts include Daniel Lee Robbins, who handled two gentle ballads (“Remember” and “Being Alive”) with a practiced charm, and Ellen Caranasos, who put some new breath into the classic “Send in the Clowns‚”. There were a few moments when the cast’s voices became lost in the difficult acoustic space of the UCF theater.

Side by Side places you in the slightly contrived setting of audience member at a cabaret show. The illusion is amplified by having the actors mingle with the audience during intermission, non-alcoholic bourbon and martinis in hand. The elegant set, complete with dueling pianists and Hirschfeld caricatures reminds us that once upon a time, things really were cooler in New York.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives