The Music and Story Await
by Ryan Schultz
Taking a wintry Sunday afternoon to write about summer theater is mildly therapeutic. It’s hard to imagine that in a few short months we will gather once again to begin the creative process. Each summer we get to attempt to recreate, re-imagine, and have the opportunity to tell a new story, with a new cast, to a new audience. It is the thrill of pushing limits of possible that keeps us coming back again and again.
Now this summer, we explore once again the music of Stephen Sondheim. I will admit, this show has captured my musical imagination. The sounds evoked in the score are jarring, sometimes hard to hear, and, yet, can contain the most profound melodies accompanied by supremely eloquent text. As I have said before, it is the challenging material and putting together the musical puzzle that ignites my creativity.
Musically, the story of Sweeney is one of biting dissonances and jarring chords that seem to hit you right between the eyes. As a cast, it is hard to hear and does not focus on “normal” harmonies. As an orchestra, trying to hear how your part fits into the whole and moves the story along becomes of paramount importance. And in those beautiful moments when darkness and dissonance fall away to reveal beauty and vulnerability in the characters, we are caught up in their story.
Auditions begin in a few short weeks (March 5 & 6) and we will start afresh to tell a vibrant story, both visually and musically. It is always exciting not knowing what the cast will look like, who will audition, etc. And yet, the music and the story are constant. They are waiting, along with the staff, to begin another exciting journey towards self-discovery. For in theater, as in music, we often find ourselves a part of the story and we share the desire to tell that story to others. We look forward to seeing you in the barber’s chair very soon.