Magazine article The Sondheim Review

His and Hers

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

His and Hers

Article excerpt

San Diego's Diversionary Theatre mixes up Marry Me a Little

Each of three casts performing Marry Me a Little (Aug. 29-Sept. 29, 2013) at Diversionary Theatre in San Diego made the hourlong revue a charming and touching reminder of Stephen Sondheim's brilliance both as a lyricist and a musical skeptic about love. But the hook to this revival of the 1980 song cycle was the Marriage Equality movement. Diversionary ran the show for a month in rotating repertory - with itself. Audiences could choose to see a Him-Him, Her-Her, Him-Her or all three couples in the two-character, sung-through show stitched together by writer Craig Lucas and director Norman René.

Other companies on both coasts have offered same-sex and gender-shifting productions. As expected at Diversionary, the felt differences among the pairings were purely artistic, not gender-based. Therefore, this offering affirmed the widespread acceptance of gay relationships and marriage in 2013, even as it celebrated the vibrant life and verbal ingenuity in 18 songs that died on the cutting room floor.

A crafty director and excellent choreographer, James Vasquez took what can be a static, minor-key show about two Brooklynites separately yearning for a connection on a lonely Saturday night and infused it with warmth, movement and humor.

For its smartly programmed opening night, Diversionary offered two performances of the hour-long show, with Mitzi Michaels and Sarah Errington in the opener, and Stewart Calhoun and Jacob Caltrider performing the same fluid staging and witty choreography after a drink-and-tapas intermission. (The man-and-woman version, offered later in the run, featured Caltrider and Errington.)

In the female pairing, Michaels made a strong Diversionary debut, her deep, rich voice and striking presence lending the right emotional resonance to "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and "Your Eyes are Blue" - as well as the comedy numbers. …

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