Arts Club Theatre


Until May 16th, 1998

Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink

A performance in tribute to the works and music of the great composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was presented with gusto at the Arts Club Theatre. Sondheim is one of the most prolific and talented songwriters of the twentieth century. Born in 1930 in New York, he wrote the lyrics for a string of contemporary classics including West Side Story, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and Company which won the New York Drama Critics Circle award.

In 1985, Sondheim won the coveted Pultizer Prize for Drama for his work Sunday in the Park with George. He has also written the musical scores for a number of films including REDS, starring Warren Beatty, DICK TRACY and THE BIRDCAGE.

The retrospective of songs starred Ruth Nichol, who has been a talented presence on the Vancouver theatre scene for several years; Patrick Rose, a three time Actra nominee, who has stage credits in Canada and London; and Jane Mortifee, an Actra and Jessis award nominee, who appeared in the film My American Cousin and starred in a number of musicals including Jacques Brel and Cabaret.

The evening performance was narrated with wit by Bernard Cuffling, a long time Vancouver stage performer who was part of the cast which won a 1997 Jessie award for The Imaginary Invalid. During one narrative moment, Cuffling related an amusing story of a rehearsal Sondheim attended for one of his shows. An impatient young actress, frustrated with the progress of rehearsals, blurted out "who do I have to screw to get out of this show?", whereupon Sondheim, sitting in the back of the theatre, retorted: "the same person you screwed to get in!"

Standout numbers included Getting Married Today, Can That Boy, Send in the Clowns and Being Alive.

The cast were impressive for their ability to put the right feeling into each song so that the evening was not simply a medley of Sondheim classics but more importantly, reflected the mood and time of each song. Ruth Nichol, who has somewhat of a Bette Midler stage persona, is a particular delight to watch.

The evening was a success and well received by the sell out crowd in attendance.


Copyright 1998 Ross Pink