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Aerial View of the Dowagiac Campus

SMC sneak-previews ‘Sondheim on Silver’ July 18

Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra presents a free preview of “Sondheim on Silver” featuring current and former Southwestern Michigan College performers Friday night, July 18, on the Dowagiac campus.

Doors open at 7 p.m. to the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for the show starting at 7:30.

No tickets will be issued for this final dress rehearsal before the one-night-only performance the following night, Saturday, July 19, on Silver Beach at Lake Michigan in St. Joseph.

Scenes from Stephen Sondheim’s most iconic shows, including “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods,” “Company” and “Sunday in the Park with George,” will be performed.

SMSO Music Director Robin Fountain conducts the orchestra.

“I can still remember the first time I encountered the music of Stephen Sondheim,” Fountain said. “It was a Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera summer performance of ‘Sweeney Todd’ in the late ’80s. I was stunned. I look forward to sharing the music and drama of this great American genius with our summer audience in St. Joseph.”

“Sondheim on Silver” is directed by Paul Mow, SMC Director of Theatre, and Chorus Master David Carew, SMC Director of Choral Activities, with a cast from across the region, including SMC alumni Alyson Snyder and James Jones, current students Eliza Carpenter, Jason Cope, Danny Ferenczi, Andrew Fisher, Chelsea Hamm, Charlene Krikke, Hunter Schuur and Cory Schutter, adjunct faculty Marcus Roll and former SMC students Emily Perkins and Kacie Mercer.

In addition to directing and producing, Mow, a former New York City Opera tenor, also performs.

On July 19 at 7:30 p.m., “Sondheim on Silver” will be presented at Shadowland Pavilion, 101 Broad St., St. Joseph.

In event of rain the venue will be St. Joseph High School auditorium, 2521 Stadium Drive.

Sondheim, 84, who has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award, the Academy Award and the Grammy Award, became friends growing up in Pennsylvania with the son of Broadway lyricist and producer Oscar Hammerstein II, who gave him tutelage in music theatre.

In his teens, Sondheim worked as an assistant on several of Hammerstein’s theatre collaborations with composer Richard Rodgers.

Sondheim wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story,” a contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” which opened in 1957.
Sondheim’s next theatre project was writing lyrics for “Gypsy,” which opened in 1959 starring Ethel Merman.

Sondheim won several Tony Awards in the 1970s collaborating with producer/director Harold Prince, including the musicals “Company” (1970), a meditation on contemporary marriage and commitment; “Follies” (1971), an homage to the Ziegfeld Follies and early Broadway; “A Little Night Music” (1973), a period comedy-drama that included the hit song “Send in the Clowns”; and “Sweeney Todd” (1979), a gory melodrama set in Victorian London.

In the 1980s, Sondheim collaborated several times with playwright/director James Lapine. Their “Sunday in the Park with George,” which opened in 1984, was inspired by the iconic painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat; 1987’s “Into the Woods” was a collage of plots from classic fairy tales.

For more information about SMSO or to purchase tickets for July 19, call the symphony office at (269) 982-4030 or visit www.smso.org.