Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

Filtering by Tag: musical theatre

2016 In Review: My Favorite Performances

I saw 92 shows, concerts, operas, etc., in 2016 (including seeing some performances more than once). That number feels very small for me, but it's about average since I moved to New York. (I saw about 100 in 2015.) 2 shows a week isn't too bad! I saw quite a range of productions: big Broadway hits, small cabarets, regional theatre in Birmingham, Alabama, small off-Broadway shows that I'm still thinking about ... Below, in alphabetical order, are my 21 favorites from 2016.

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Sondheimas 2k16: "Putting It Together" with James Jackson, Jr.

Your task: Take a pseudo-minimalist Sondheim song and change it into one with a funk groove. Make sure to keep it interesting. Find a way that showcases James's voice and personality. Finished product: our "Putting It Together," which brought down the house at both Sondheimas performances.

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Sondheimas 2k16: "Evening Primrose" with Ali Ewoldt and Olli Haaskivi

Evening Primrose is one of the stranger parts of Sondheim's output. An hour-long tv show written in 1966 with James Goldman. This evening, our Charles was Olli Haaskivi; our Ella, Ali Ewoldt. Both tackled the material with aplomb - as did the wonderful band. I enjoyed every song we played at Sondheimas, but this suite was one of my favorites to perform.

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Sondheimas 2k16: "It Takes Two" with Nikka Graff Lanzarone and George Abud

My rehearsal with Nikka and George for this year's Sondheimas was one of the zaniest rehearsals I've been a part of. The two of them have a ridiculous amount of chemistry together, and I regret that we can only see a smidge of that in their banter at the beginning of this video. But throughout the rest of the song - well, they're both delightfully charming and goofy and full of that joie de vivre that makes this a special performance.

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Sondheimas 2k16: Opening Number

Like any good opening number of musical, the opening number of Sondheimas hopefully sets the tone for the evening, and tells the audience what the show will be about. To some extent, at least. The first year's opening number was from Frogs and "God" from Sondheim on Sondheim, setting up the religious ceremony. Last year we opened with an instrumental of "I Never Do Anything Twice" (tongue-in-cheek) and the opening invocation from Frogs, followed by Molly Pope singing "Back in Business" from Dick Tracy - songs that said, "We're back!" This year, we opened with "Baby June and Her Newsboys," from Gypsy, performed by the Sondheimas Boy Choir - here, Sean DohertyMatthew LummusMike Walsh, and Eric Williams.

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