Thursday, October 04, 2012

Off-Broadway: Keen Company's Marry Me a Little

I saw the first preview of Keen Company's revival of Marry Me a Little at the Clurman in Theatre Row.  I loved it so much that I went back again last week and frankly I'd love to get in at least one more viewing before the show closes on October 27th.

 Marry Me a Little opened on October 2nd.   The piece is a a sung-thru musical of rare and assorted Sondheim songs, a mix of numbers from rarely seen shows and pieces that never made the cut in popular shows.   The conceit is two young singles, in this case as directed by Jonathan Silverstein, a couple of Williamsburg hipsters, basically living on top of each other.   Their paths inevitably cross, but the each spend a Saturday night on their own, dealing with various demons, loneliness and boredom. 

Jason Tam is adorable as "Him" and his singing is fine.  It's impossible not to be interested in his broken heart and root for him in the end.   He simply oozes charm.  However, Lauren Molina is the bright light of this production as "Her."   Her vocal range is on display - lots of soprano and some mighty belting, especially with "Marry Me a Little" and "There Won't Be Trumpets."  Her performance is nothing short of thrilling as she stands on the edge of the stage and gives it her all.   She is absolutely effervescent.  Accompanied only by piano by John Bell, and sometimes on cello by Lauren herself, the actors are singing without artificial amplification and this just knocks it out of the park for me in the cozy space that is the Clurman. 

The story, set in a Brooklyn loft, is a wonderfully clever juxtaposition of two very young and hip people going about their singleness while imagining some really romantic and old-fashioned situations.   This view, coupled with the really beautiful Sondheim songs, lends a clever and very satisfying result.   There's no need for words - it's all laid out before you in their movement and song.   Even though the two are struggling with some loneliness, it's a lovely mix of funny and sweet.  I should also mention that Jason and Lauren are very sexy - not a bad way at all to spend 70 minutes of your evening.

The songlist:  
"If You Can Find Me, I'm Here" - from Evening Primrose
"Saturday Night" - from Saturday Night
"Boy, Can That Boy Foxtrot"   - cut from from Follies
"Bring on the Girls" - cut from Follies
"All Things Bright and Beautiful"  - cut from Follies
"Bang!"  - cut from A Little Night Music
"All Things Bright and Beautiful" II - cut from Follies
"The Girls of Summer" - cut from Follies
"Ah, But Underneath" - cut from Follies
"Who Could Be Blue/Little White House" - cut from Follies
"So Many People" - from Saturday Night
"Your Eyes are Blue"  - from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
"A Moment With You" - from Saturday Night
"Marry Me a Little" - cut from Company
"Happily Ever After"  - cut from Follies
"Silly People" - from Saturday Night
"There Won't Be Trumpets"  - from Anyone Can Whistle
"Rainbows" - written for film of Into the Woods
"It Wasn't Meant to Happen" - cut from Follies

I think this show would make for a great date night, even though I happily went solo.  It's for anybody who loves a little romance and especially those who love a great, well-executed story. It's a must for Sondheim lovers.  Hopefully, Marry Me a Little will get another much deserved extension.  But don't wait just in case it does close on October 27th.  It's playing at the Clurman in Theatre Row on 42nd Street.   Discounted tickets are available via

Photo: David Gersten & Associates, Carol Rosegg

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