Starry Sondheim night

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Small stage but plenty of props

Rye Art Festival hosted a co-production with Euphonia Studio at the community centre on Conduit Hill on Saturday, June 9. Marry Me A Little is a two-person play with songs and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Born in 1930, the American composer and lyricist lives in New York City and is known for many contributions to musical theatre throughout his life, including the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy in the 1950s.
His lyrics are poignant and the music brings them alive by underpinning the sentiment. The premise of the play is the encounter of two people, each recovering from a break-up, yet hope touches them again by a momentary meeting. However, will it lead to their dreams being fulfilled? They sing the duet beautifully: “Someone to hold me too close, someone to hurt me too deep, someone to sit in my chair and ruin my sleep and make me aware of being alive, being alive….”

Jonathan Musgrave (pianist)

The play was in fact performed initially in London. Alisdair Kitchen who was the Director, Designer and Musical Director has enjoyed a diverse career as a multi-disciplinary artist. Jonathan Musgrave, the accompanying pianist studied at the Royal College of Music.
Stephanie Schmalzle and Keith Merrill

Stephanie Schmalzle, who plays the young woman, is an American London-based actor and singer who trained at the Royal College of Music. Keith Merrill, who plays the young man, trained at the Royal Academy of Music. Both, as singers and expressive actors, individually and when blending their voices together, kept the audience engaged with their beautiful voices. While there was a minimal stage design, it contained all the props necessary to keep the play animated.
This was an out-of-season coup for the Rye Arts Festival. At the end of September they will again host a spectacular programme of classical music, theatre, visual arts and literary events. The full programme will be available in July. Further information can be found on their website

Photos: Heidi Foster

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