Tuesday, July 18, 2006
This is why I went to Chicago
So, I flew to Chicago for Sondheim. I am prepared to travel to the ends of the Earth for Sondheim. Each moment of every song is special to me, whether it is performed in a concert or as part of a stage production. My main draw to attend the Sondheim Fest at Millinium Park in Chicago was to see George Hearn
and hang with my friends who understand. Millinium Park is beautiful but there are no shade trees, and even if there had been, it still would have been 110 in the shade. The heat kept us from taking in the lesser events, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the main event in Pritzker Pavillion. George's "Epiphany" from Sweeney Todd was thrilling. At age 72, his voice remains among the most powerful of the musical theatre stage. The bonus performance was Judy Kaye's Losing My Mind, which to me just solidified her astonishing vocal and acting range. It was also a treat to see that perennial participant in Sondheim tribute concerts, Liz Callway, who never disappoints. I enjoyed hearing Brian D'Arcy James, Danny Gurwin and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, althoughI wasn't really familiar with them. They didn't thrill me with their voices, but never forget that Sondheim isn't always about voice but rather about the presentation lyrics. The audience was interesting and quite different from the typical Sondheim audience of New York, definitely more depressing, less gay (perhaps the more gay and less depressing audience was at over at Gay Games VII).
We escaped the heat by taking The Devil Wears Prada. What Sondheim is to musical theatre, Meryl Streep is to the silver screen. Run, don't walk, to see this movie. We also spent quality time viewing archival footage of The Patti
and other Sondheimish favorites.
It was all quite sweet and satisfactory.