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|A CurtainUp Review
Marry Me a Little
Residents of Queens and Long Island and all other New Yorkers currently have a chance to enjoy an ingenious take on the traditional musical revue. Usually in such shows the performers are given minimal props such as bar stools to belt out a medley of songs.
Not so in the handsome Queens Theatre in the Park. . .
A well-furnished modern New York apartment set gives the show the flavor of a musical book show--complete with costume changes. As is quickly apparent, the apartment is really two identical apartments in which two lonely New York singles spin out their dreams and fantasies through an assemblage of twenty-one -- (four of them added by director Rob Urbinati to the 1980 version) -- Stephen Sondheim tunes.
The songs were rescued by Lucas from the cutting room floor where material which for one reason or another doesn't make it into a show usually lays fallow. While they may not be familiar, they have a pleasantly familiar Sondheim ring -- especially in the witty and often bittersweet lyrics. Some date back to 1954; some were written for Follies ; others for shows that never came off. Within the structure of connecting the songs as a chronicle of two people missing-taking-missing opportunities for love happily ever after Marry Me a Little's intermission less hour and fifteen minutes adds up to a splendidly unified sum of its twenty-one parts.
Not the least of the evening's success is of course due to the starring duo, Sally Mayes and Brent Barrett, both of whom come to this gig with solid Broadway and Off-Broadway credentials. While both performers do justice to the materials, Barrett is the star of the proceedings. Besides a terrific voice and leading man good looks, he has the easy grace and flexibility of a dancer which the spacious set allows him to fully exploit. His solo number, "Uptown, Downtown" is a true standout but by no means the only one. "Bang". . ."Marry Me a ittle". . .""Happily Ever After". . ."Rich and Happy" are particularly noteworthy. The finale, with each wearing half of one pair of pajamas, ties things up perfectly.
Those of you who live in Manhattan and consider the bridges and tunnels leading to Queens an insurmountable Maginot Line should use this show as an opportunity to explore a borough that has a lot more to offer than decently priced apartments and pockets of lovely homes. The complex to which the theater belongs, includes a museum, sports facilities--and right nearby in Flushing and Jackson Heights are some of the best (and best-priced)ethnic EATS to be had anywhere in New York.