Merrily it Rolls Along: Putting It Together at WaterTower

Putting It Together, a two-hour revue of Stephen Sondheim songs, isn't much of a musical. It's more of a meh-sical. But WaterTower Theatre in Addison has a reasonably pleasant staging of it directed by Terry Martin.

Singer-actors Alex Organ, Bob Hess, John Campione, Diana Sheehan and newcomer Sarah Elizabeth Smith get through 34 numbers in just less than two hours. The patchwork score includes tunes from Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Dick Tracy.

The loose framework sets the quintet at a dressy cocktail party where the older couple (Hess, Sheehan) bickers and the younger ones (Organ, Smith) pitch woo. Campione, shut out of the romantic tangles, plays the waiter, proffering cocktails to the ladies (and gents) who lunch.

Little things in this show distract from the nice singing: the lack of costume change between acts; ugly "character shoes" (actresses call them "hooves" for a reason); lighting out of sync with the music; Mondrian-inspired sliding scenery panels by Rodney Dobbs that dwarf the performers and look like the old set for the TV panel show To Tell the Truth.

Organ has a lovely solo on the ballad "Marry Me a Little" from Company. The rest: not great, not terrible. Just meh.

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Elaine Liner
Contact: Elaine Liner