Acting Work - Theatre
A Stephen Sondheim revue starring Julie Andrews, Stephen Collins, Christopher Durang, Michael Rupert, Rachel York
Putting It Together was presented in March 1994 for a limited engagement at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. Not strictly a revue, it took songs from some of Stephen Sondheim’s shows and put them in the context of a party, and without dialogue told a kind of story. “Devised” by Stephen Sondheim and Julia McKenzie, it was first done in London, starring Diana Rigg.
Julia McKenzie directed both that first production, and this American premiere as well. On Broadway she had performed in the successful Sondheim revue Side by Side by Sondheim; and in London she is an acclaimed actress and singer who had personal successes as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and as Sally in Follies.
The casting of Julie Andrews in this show was an enormous coup, and marked her first return to the New York stage since the classic Camelot in 1960. Her elegance and precision were a wonderful fit with Sondheim’s sophisticated wit and emotional complexity.
In the show she and Stephen Collins played a wealthy husband and wife whose marriage is on the rocks. They’re giving a party, and the other people there are the beautiful girl all the men lust after (played by Rachel York); a business associate of Collins’ (played by Michael Rupert); and the piano player at the party (played by Durang), who turns out to be the “provocateur” who mischievously makes everyone play unwelcome truth games (which, of course, trigger many songs).
More on Putting It Together
(left) Michael Rupert and Durang rehearse the song "Now," originally from Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
In the show Rupert is attracted to Rachel York, and is tortured by wondering what's the best approach to use to seduce her. Durang sings Rupert’s thoughts aloud, while Rupert paces and looks perplexed by his choices.
(right) Time to play games. Left to right, Stephen Collins, Durang, Julie Andrews, Rachel York, Michael Rupert.
Charades, Scrabble and Clue having been rejected as party games, troublesome Durang passes out cards and forces everyone to write down personal questions, which will cause self-revelations - though, since this is a musical, expressed through song. Rupert sings Live Alone and Like It. Andrews relives her panic when she got married in the comically frenetic Getting Married Today. Durang admits I Could Drive a Person Crazy.
Call Me Madam at City Center "Encores" (1995)
(Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Directed by Charles Repole,
music direction by Rob Fisher, choreography by Kathleen Marshall.
Cast: Tyne Daly, Walter Charles, Lewis Cleale, Melissa Errico, Simon Jones, Peter Bartlett. Durang played Congressman Wilkins, and with Ken Page and MacIntyre Dixon sang the “campaign song” “They Like Ike.”