The “Other” Sondheim Revue, “Putting It Together”
It’s been a season of Stephen Sondheim the past 10 months or so in Florida, and Putting It Together, the musical at Broward Stage Door, puts a satisfying capstone on it as strong earnest voices tackle many songs that only addicts are aware of.
For Putting It Together, or PIT as Sondheads call it, is the otherSondheim revue — as opposed to Sondheim on Sondheim, which played at Actors Playhouse this winter, or Side by Side by Sondheim, which played from MNM Productions in Delray Beach in August.
Unlike those two which have no narrative, this 1993 show (revived in 1999) has a paper thin plot (although no dialogue) to which Sondheim and his frequent British leading lady Julia McKenzie inserted songs from his catalog that fit the evolving situation. In a New York penthouse, a wealthy couple whose marriage is deteriorating has invited a young recently-engaged couple to a late night black tie cocktail party. A servant comments like a Greek chorus while fissures in the relationships are stressed by infidelities before everyone makes up in the end.
While the song list contains several of Sondheim’s greatest hits, a large percentage are songs cut from final productions or added to London productions, plus songs from the film Dick Tracy. Further, the inveterate puzzle addict took a perverse pleasure in taking songs way out of context and injecting them credibly in the story being unfolded on stage. You almost can hear him giggling as he selects “Hello, Little Girl” with the Big Bad Wolf seducing Little Red Riding Hood from Into The Woods and drops it in this effort as the older host making a play for the young visitor. Elsewhere, the song “Marry Me A Little,” a classic song of blunted ambivalence, is sung here as a heartfelt unconstrained plea.By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com May 20, 2016