Play: “Marry Me a Little”
Group: Citilites Theatre
Venue: Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle
Dates: November 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21
Tickets: $15-$20; contact 314-773-1879 or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/132483
Story: A young man has achieved some financial success in his business career and is in the process of moving out of his modest apartment in New York City to some fancier digs. A week later, an aspiring young actress moves into his old apartment. They never meet, but the two lonely people are soul mates of sorts: They even are reading the same book at one point. Each is tired of spending Saturday night alone, reflecting on past lovers and hoping for a future filled with love and happiness. Will they achieve their dreams?
Highlights: Conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene in 1980, “Marry Me a Little” creatively cobbles together a smattering of songs from musicals by Stephen Sondheim with several more tunes that were cut from well-known Sondheim gems such as “A Little Night Music,” “Company,” “Follies” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” The resulting mix is a breezy, spirited romp that showcases the charming musical talents of Laura Ernst and Scott Tripp as the two would-be lovers in a Citilites Theatre production deftly directed by Seth Ward Pyatt, who doubles as musical director for the sprightly, 60-minute revue.
Other Info: Incorporating a number of songs from Sondheim’s “Saturday Night” and a few from other lesser known shows along with several tunes that didn’t make the final versions of more familiar musicals, “Marry Me a Little” showcases the composer’s signature style of complex melodies and incisive lyrics in beguiling and effervescent fashion. Both performers are adept at handling the difficult musical style and take turns shining on bits such as Ernst warbling the infectious “Can That Boy Fox Trot” (cut from “Follies”) to Tripp describing “Silly People” (cut from “A Little Night Music”).
Cindy Duggan’s low-key choreography is especially enchanting on the comic trifle, “Pour le Sport,” as the pair improvises some swings on the golf course (although Tripp should swing something other than a putter) or the sweet “A Moment with You” that they perform on the cozy Gaslight Theater stage.
Nick Moramarco’s piano accompaniment is consistently supportive without being intrusive, ably complementing the fine work by both singers. Sarah Holt’s thoughtfully selected properties fit the personalities of the respective characters and complement the quaint apartment set designed by Moramarco and GP Hunsaker, with lighting by Steven Miller especially effective on the softer and more romantic tunes.
“Marry Me a Little” is a brisk and merry chance to hear some lesser known Sondheim numbers that nonetheless ably bear his signature style.
Rating: A 4 on a scale of 1-to-5.