By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
EDMOND, OK – The acclaimed musical revue Side by Side by legendary Broadway and film composer Stephen Sondheim will open on Sunday, Feb 25 for one performance only at the UCO Jazz Lab in Edmond. The celebrated musical revue will take place at 100 East 5th Street. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show begins at 7:30 p.m.
The show will feature 30 songs by Stephen Sondheim; with additional music by Jule Styne, Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers and Richard Rodgers.
Side by Side by Sondheim will be directed and choreographed by John Greer, a graduate student in the Musical Theatre program at the University of Central Oklahoma. The performance will fulfill part of the requirement to complete Greer’s masters in musical theatre program.
Performed and narrated by a cast of five, Side by Side by Sondheim “combines fascinating musical theatre background and biographical tidbits, along with hit musical numbers including: “If Mama Was Married” (from Gypsy), “Broadway Baby’ (from Follies), “Comedy Tonight” (from A Funny Thing…), “A Boy Like That” (from West Side Story), and “Side by Side” (from Company) according to Greer.
The cast includes Easton Edwards, Peter Mah, Ashton Cleer, Maura McMurray and Kennedy Porter with a special appearance by Billie Thrash.
“Oklahoma City theatre icon, Billie Thrash will be performing the show stopper ‘I’m Still Here,’ Greer added. “Her performance of this number will ‘Bring the House Down’ and you do not want to miss it.”
Ali Baker, another graduate student working on her M.M. (Masters of Music) in Collaborative Piano will serve as musical director and pianist.
Also serving as pianist for the show will be Mariann Searle, well known for her work as a pianist and music director in the Oklahoma City area. After serving as an Assistant Music Director for Music Theatre Wichita for several years, she accepted a position at Oklahoma City University where she coached singers including Kristen Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara. Searle served as Associate Music Director and subsequently Music Director/Conductor for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.
At UCO since 2003, Searle coaches music theatre majors, music directs main stage and Jazz Lab shows, as well as assisting with various music theatre classes.
“I am thrilled Mariann has graciously agreed to be part of the production,” Greer said. “She will have just closed Man of La Mancha on the main stage Mitchell Hall at UCO the weekend prior and will come in during production week to become part of the show.”
Side by Side will feature costumes designed by Emily Herrera, Patterson Allen will provide props, and lights and sound will be designed by Tyler Swim and Taylor Benjamin-Parrot. Benjamin-Parrot will also serve as stage manager.
The Jazz Lab is home of the Jazz Studies Division of the University of Central Oklahoma School of Music. Side by Side Sondheim performance time is Sunday Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but table reservations are encouraged. Contact the Mitchall HalI/UCO Jazz Lab Box Office at 405-974-2100.