Monday, April 24, 2017

Review of Porchlight Music Theatre's Marry Me a Little

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Marry Me a Little. The music and lyrics were by Steven Sondheim and it was conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman René. It was directed by Jess McLeod and the music direction was by Austin Cook. It is a compilation of many of Sondheim's songs in the context of two neighbors falling in love. I think this is a super fun show; I love Stephen Sondheim's work and I thought the performers (Cook and Bethany Thomas) were really lovable, talented, and had great voices. It wasn't just fun, it was also emotional at times, and you do come to care about the characters.

This play is about two people falling in love unexpectedly, so it is no wonder they have so many duets together. Two of my favorites were "Bang" and "Two Fairy Tales," both from A Little Night Music. I really liked the song "Bang." It was all about the noise that The Man's piano was making upstairs. They were clearly overreacting to the situation; they acted like this was war. They actually said "This means war!" in the song right after The Woman had banged on the ceiling of her apartment. I found that very funny. If he hadn't been playing so loud, they wouldn't have met, which means it was kind of a good thing. The song "Two Fairy Tales" was kind of their bonding song where they bonded over their childhood stories that they used to read. I thought it was really sweet, and I really liked that song. They were basically connecting the two stories, so they sounded like one crazy fairy tale with two different endings. One has a happy ending and one doesn't, so when you put them together you get a kind of bittersweet ending. And that is exactly what happens in Marry Me a Little. The story is about happiness and heartbreak in the same relationship.

The first song The Woman sings, "The Girls of Summer," is a very seductive song, but it is kind of about how dumb these seductive girls are. The Woman is the girl who isn't a girl of summer. The girls of summer get their hearts broken and don't remember anything by fall, but The Woman has protected herself from getting her heart broken, but then she didn't have much of a summer at all; she hasn't gotten her heart broken because she hasn't been in love. Another song that she sings later on in the show is "I Remember Sky." It was all about the times when things were better. She is going through some hard times with The Man, and she is remembering when things were better for them. I thought this song was really beautiful, and it was really moving how her beautiful acting and beautiful singing made the whole effect of the song so huge and meaningful. She also had more hilarious songs, like "Can That Boy Foxtrot." I think it was so funny because of all the tricking that she would do of the audience by making them think she was about to say something that she wasn't. So she would say "Boy, can that boy fffff--oxtrot." And everyone thought she was going to say a different word, but she never did, which was pretty hilarious.

The Man also had some really great solos. "If You Can Find Me, I'm Here" was all about how he wanted to be alone but if you want to find him he is at this undisclosed location. And he was so furious as he was playing the piano, which was really interesting to watch. He seemed like he'd gone off the deep end, which is understandable because of the situation he was in. He can barely find himself even, like he's saying "Don't look for me, because I can't even find myself." "You Are the Best Thing That Ever Has Happened" was not technically a solo, even though it was mostly sung by him, because The Woman has a few interjections. It was such a sweet song, but it was actually more bittersweet because they had broken up. He was reminiscing on when they were truly happy, but he is actually pretty angry at her at the same time. He sang this song with so much intention and love and loathing at the same time and that was very heartbreaking. I think that is a very relatable feeling.

People who would like this show are people who like combining fairy tales, fatefully loud piano playing, and fff-oxtrotting. I think that people should definitely go see this show. It has so many great songs sung by two great performers. I really loved it!

Photos: Brandon Dahlquist

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