Music Theater preview: Side By Side By Sondheim
Starting Friday, Oct 7, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre will present two weekends of Side by Side By Sondheim in a Reader's Theatre production at the Parish Theatre. Kalamazoo Civic artistic director Tony Humrichouser says that Reader's Theatre is for performers over 50 years old and is adaptable to all kinds of people, including those who are embracing new things later in life, and others who are keeping their theater skills sharp. Humrichouser says that Sondheim’s music and lyrics can be complex — and drawing upon one's own experiences helps bring the songs to life.
Humrichouser's vision for the revue is to put the 14-member cast in the round at the Parish Theater, supported by pianist Sirasa Schonder. The show features 28 full songs and an "epic medley" of 28 songs at the end.
Humrichouser knows his theater history, and often uses anecdotes to add context when he's directing. One personal piece of wisdom he heard in a WMUK interview in the 1980s with Western Michigan University theater professor James Daniels, who said: "An actor says, 'I believe these things are true. Therefore, this is how I would like to say them.'" "I've carried that throughout my entire life," says Humrichouser.