REVIEW for Side by Side
A trip down Sondheim’s early musical lane by Mark Lord, contributor Queens Chronicle
“Side by Side by Sondheim,” a musical entertainment that pays tribute to composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, is the current attraction from Royal Star Theatre, running for two more performances on June 10th and 11th.
Created in 1976, the show offers audiences an opportunity to re-visit or, perhaps, encounter for the first time some of Sondheim’s early works, written long before he dreamed up “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods.”
The 50 or so numbers that are presented fully or in snippets offer consistent reminders of Sondheim’s brilliance, and the talents of the show’s performers are considerable.
And the continuity, or narration, written by Ned Sherrin, which ties the show together and helps place the songs in context, remains clever and informative. References have been updated to include the likes of “Naked Boys Singing” and the inevitable “Hamilton,” making the show feel more contemporary.
Paul Johnson, a stalwart musical director on the local scene for decades, here takes on double duty, also serving as the show’s stage director. His touches are apparent throughout, particularly in the more over-the-top second half.
As a cabaret-style diversion, the show is primarily dependent on its vocalists, and each performer is given ample opportunity to appear in the spotlight, with several standout moments.
Regina Lim-Fischedick delivers a bravura performance of Sondheim’s infamously difficult rapid-fire lyrics as a harried bride-to-be in “Getting Married Today.” This diminutive powerhouse is loaded with charisma.
. . .
"Daniel Walstad’s voice soars in several numbers, most notably in “Beautiful Girls,” and he provides a tender rendition of the title song from “Anyone Can Whistle.”. . .
When: Friday and Saturday, June 10-11, 8 p.m.
Where: Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy,
179-14 Dalny Road, Jamaica Estates
Entry: $18; $15 seniors, children; $2 more at door
(718) 428-8681, royalstartheatre.org