Local Sondheim Tribute up for National Tour

April 11, 2023

A Farmington musical theatre director has been asked to submit his Celebrate Sondheim Revue for a chance at touring nationally. Randy West, director of Four Corners Musical Theatre Company, produced a two-hour Sondheim extravaganza, with eight professional singers and a nine-piece orchestra. Presented as a workshop at the Farmington Civic Center, the final production will be recorded in the next few weeks and submitted to a Florida-based agency that books national tours. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Three Rivers Brewery and The Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College

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A local stage director has recreated a musical revue of the late Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim's iconic shows like "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Randy West, director of the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company developed a two-hour Sondheim spectacular with eight professional singers and a nine-piece orchestra performed for audiences at the Farmington Civic Center. He hopes it will be produced by a national touring company later this year. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Three Rivers Brewery and The Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. "Celebrate Sondheim" is a fully-staged multimedia event co-produced by West, who was mentored in musical theater by Sondheim himself for 35 years.

So I had done this, oh, about eight years ago when Steve was not only very much alive, he approved most of the medleys himself. And so when they asked me if I had a musical revue that featured Sondheim, I said I did, but I'd like to update it and I'd like to tweak it and I'd like to workshop it in front of a live audience before I would say it was ready. And so that's what we're doing here.

Parsed through each complex note, rapid key changes, and complicated lyrics, the show runs sometimes as a comedy at a quick, colorful pace.

There's always a Sondheim. I keep telling the actors Sondheim never wrote a song that just went like this. Everything goes at least like this. He always writes on at least two or three layers.

One of West's collaborators in creating the show, Aaron Berk, is the musical director and arranger in town from New York City.

It's been pretty amazing, and we put this together really fast. Arranging-wise, I spent probably like a month and a half on it, but we only rehearsed, I think we had 10 rehearsals. And it's a lot, I mean, you heard the first act so far. It's a lot of music, it's fast transitions. It's really cool stuff.

Though Sondheim died two years ago, his musical compositions are as popular as when Sondheim was writing. West's "Celebrate Stephen Sondheim" revue ends with the 1973 classic from the Broadway musical, "A Little Night Music." The orchestra is integral to the show. Four Corners Musical Theatre will produce Sondheim's haunting and mysterious "Into the Woods" for Sandstone Productions this summer. Learn more about this story and others at farmingtonlocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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