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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Delightful Sondheim Songfest 'Marry Me A Little' at Women's Theater Company


The Women’s Theater Company, the gem of a professional Equity theater company in Parsippany, NJ, is closing the 2015/16 season with a charming one act musical Marry Me A Little, with lyrics and music written by Stephen Sondheim.
Actually, Marry Me A Little is a musical revue featuring a cast of two...a boy and a girl...(normal right ?). In this clever vehicle, the two live in the same New York building in separate studio apartments......they sadly fantasize via song what life with the other might be like...however, without ever making actual contact. Quite simply, they lack the courage to talk to each other. They may be two of the loneliest people in the world.

Here is the truly unique part, none of the songs (18) were composed for the show. Each song is from Sondheim's songbook. Shows represented are: Follies, Funny Thing Happened of the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Saturday Night, Anyone Can Whistle and Company. The play's title was originally written for Company. Fourteen of the songs, however, were never performed in those shows...they were cut! (I did say 'unique' ?).

'Unique' also can mean 'special,' In the case of the performers, we have two very special talents who would be at home on any stage either side of the Hudson. The woman is played to perfection by the award winning actress/singer Patricia Durante. Yes, this is the same Patricia Durante who first impressed us in WTC's Enchanted April, and wowed us as Patsy Cline last season.  She is a very attractive redhead, who nicely morphs into this emotionally challenged loner. 

The man is played by a veteran of regional theater and tv soap operas, the fine voiced Joe Elefante. He impressed with all his songs ...with the title song of qualified commitment a particular treat...."Marry me a little, Love me just enough. Cry, but not too often, Play, but not too rough. Keep a tender distance so we'll both be free. That's the way it ought to be. I'm ready! Marry me a little, Do it with a will. Make a few demands I'm able to fulfill. Want me more than others, Not exclusively. That's the way it ought to be. I'm ready! I'm ready now!"

Marry Me A Little, is beautifully directed by Barbara Krajkowski, artistic director at The Women’s Theater Company. The multi-talented Lauren Moran Mills provided the fine musical staging. The musical direction is by Rich Lovallo who uses his two keyboards to produce a beautifully delicate accompaniment.

The excellent creative team also includes: stage manager Regina Novicki; set construction/ lighting design Todd Mills; scenic painter Stephanie Shulman (marvelous backdrop); and spot-on costumes Francis Harrison. 
This is a delightful 60 minutes of love and romance as presented by the imagination of the two would-be lovers.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio May 29, 2016

Marry Me A Little runs through June 5; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. To purchase tickets online please visit www.womenstheater.org or call 973-316-3033.

The Women’s Theater Company is located at the Parsippany Playhouse at 1130 Knoll Road, Lake Hiawatha, NJ. For GPS driving directions, enter the town of Boonton, 07005.

Only three performances remain!

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