Side by Side by Sondheim

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Musical Entertainment from 26 April 2007 to 23 June 2007

The Venue Theatre Leicester Place, off Leicester Square, London

NML Productions presents a major new production of Side by Side by Sondheim in London, directed by Hannah Chissick with choreography by Adam Cooper and musical direction by Michael Haslam.

Side by Side by Sondheim features a dazzling array of some of the Stephen Sondheim's best known work (including collaborations with musical theatre giants Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rogers, Mary Rodgers and Jule Styne) from classic musicals such as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, Pacific Overtures and A Little Night Music with original narration by Ned Sherrin.

This new production of Side by Side by Sondheim in London is directed by Hannah Chissick who is the former Artistic Director of Harrogate Theatre, and choreographed by Adam Cooper who is most famous for his work with Matthew Bourne, The Royal Ballet and recently in the West End starring in the Donmar's production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre. The show is performed by three vocalists, two pianists and a narrator.

The cast for Side by Side by Sondheim in London features Alasdair Harvey, Abbie Osmon and Josie Walker. The guest narrators feature Christopher Cazenove on 11 and 12 June; Les Dennis on 13 June; and Angela Rippon from 14 to 23 June.

Stephen Sondheim's musicals include A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Gypsy, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along, Pacific Overtures, Saturday Night, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.

Alasdair Harvey was recently seen in London's West End in the critically acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, his other credits include the West End productions of Sunset Boulevard and Aspects of Love aswell as the national tour of Calamity Jane. Abbie Osmon was seen recently in Evita where she played the alternate 'Eva' to much acclaim, she has also appeared in We Will Rock You at the Dominian Theatre. Josie Walker's West End credits include A Beautiful Game for which she recieved an Olivier award nomination, her regional theatre credits include Assassins at The Sheffield Crucible, Alan Ackybourn's Seasons Greetings at The Liverpool Playhouse and Little Shop of Horrors at The West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Side by Side by Sondheim was originally devised as a fund raiser concert for Cleo Laine and John Dankworth's theatre at Wavendon. Well received the show went on to play in London, firstly at The Mermaid Theatre before transferring to The Wyndham's Theatre in July 1976 and then to The Garrick Theatre where it closed having played for just under two years all together. In addition Side by Side by Sondheim transferred to Broadway where it played for just one year.

Ned Sherrin, the original 1976 director and narrator: "Side by Side by Sondheim is a celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim from a British point of view. We may not be able to write good musicals in this country but we do now how to enjoy them. The show was born out of three long runs. Millicent Martin and Julia McKenzie were appearing in London in Alan Ayckbourn plays; David Kernan, Ray Cook, who supervised the music and laid down the two-piano accompaniment, and Stuart Pedlar, one of the co-musical directors, were working in A Little Night Music. It was David Kernan's idea to put together an evening of Sondheim songs for John Dankworth and Cleo Laine's theatre at Wavendon - in much the same form of cabaret concert as two other compilations I had directed there. In selecting the songs we were governed by two principal considerations - a considered thematic study of Sondheim's development as a writer for the musical theatre; and finding the right material for three versatile performers. We wanted to explore three propositions, Sondheim is the best lyric writer of our time; the most adventurous composer of musicals; and the most considerable musical dramatist. After trying the programme out at Wavendon, InComes Company, the title of our Artistes Collective, presented it on three Sunday evenings before arrangements were made for a London run, initially at the Mermaid Theatre. The theatricality of Sondheim's music has had the gratifying effect of exciting large audiences to whom the main body of the work was unfamiliar."