Review: The Players Put It Together with Stylish Sondheim Revue

by Joe Siegel

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday May 17, 2022

The cast of "Putting It Together": Front row: Tom Lavallee, Stephen Dulude, Carolyn Poutasse, Jeff Davis. Back row: Rebecca Kilcline, Anthony F. DeRose, Liz Messier
The cast of "Putting It Together": Front row: Tom Lavallee, Stephen Dulude, Carolyn Poutasse, Jeff Davis. Back row: Rebecca Kilcline, Anthony F. DeRose, Liz Messier  

The Players at Barker Playhouse are finishing their season with the highly stylish musical revue "Putting It Together," featuring the music of legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Sondheim, who passed away last November at the age of 91, contributed a bounty of Broadway classics, including "West Side Story," "Follies," "Sweeney Todd," "Into the Woods," and "Assassins."

"Putting It Together," which was conceived by Sondheim and Julia McKenzie, takes place at a cocktail party, where three couples share their joys, hopes, and frustrations.

Under the musical direction of Joseph Carvalho, the performers pulled off one showstopper after another.

Stephen Dulude ("A Chorus Line") is a superb vocalist, and brings the requisite amount of charm and malice singing the Wolf's song, "Hello Little Girl," from "Into the Woods."

Rebecca Kilcline ("The Mystery of Edwin Drood"), who also provided the costumes, soars with an exuberant performance of "More" from "Dick Tracy." Decked out in jewels and a feather boa, Kilcline has a lot of fun in this ode to greed and materialism.

Carolyn Poutasse brings some sultriness to another "Dick Tracy" tune, "Sooner or Later" (Sondheim's Oscar-winning Best Song).

Another highlight was Tom Lavallee's ("Guys and Dolls") passionate "Marry Me a Little" from "Company." Lavallee, who also served as choreographer, did a magnificent job conveying the song's heartfelt lyrics.

Liz Messier ("Assassins") brought the right blend of anger and disillusionment to "Could I Leave You" and "Ladies Who Lunch."

Messier and Dulude were also well matched vocally on the poignant "Country House" from the London production of "Follies."

Jeff Davis ("The Lion in Winter") and Kilcline delivered a heartbreaking rendition of "Unworthy of Your Love," an unlikely love song from "Assassins."

Anthony F. DeRose made for a charismatic and amusing Moderator. DeRose's big showcase was "Buddy's Blues" from "Follies."

The entire ensemble teamed up for the smashing Act Two opener, "Back In Business," as well as the finale, "Old Friends."

Dan Clement's set design and Ron Allen's lighting were elegant, and accentuated the songs nicely.

The magic of a great song is its ability to transport you to another place. "Putting It Together" is a testament to Sondheim's talent as a writer. I believe his music will endure for generations to come.

'Putting It Together" runs through May 22. The Players at Barker Playhouse. 400 Benefit Street, Providence, RI. Masks are required. For tickets, visit the theater's website at: https://playersri.org.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.