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Theater Review: 'Marry Me a Little' -- 3 stars

Lauren Molina, left, and Jason Tam in

Lauren Molina, left, and Jason Tam in "Marry Me a Little." Credit: Lauren Molina, left, and Jason Tam in "Marry Me a Little."

Marry Me a Little
3 stars

Revues of songs by the great Stephen Sondheim, which have included such high-profile efforts as "Putting It Together," "Side By Side By Sondheim" and most recently "Sondheim on Sondheim," simply do not work.

Unlike the songs of many golden age composers, which were intended mainly to showcase the writer's humorous wit and romantic spirit and can easily be plugged into revues or new musicals, Sondheim's songs are tailored to each of his musicals. He literally lives by the mantra "content dictates form."

Yet "Marry Me a Little," a two-actor, piano-only, unamplified, 70-minute revue created in 1980 by playwright Craig Lucas and Norman Rene, is probably the best Sondheim revue you'll ever find.

It depicts two young, unattached New Yorkers longing to achieve a romantic connection. Although they occupy separate apartments, in this production they share the same set but pretend not to notice each other.

There is not much of a story. The characters essentially spend the show fooling around with their computers and smartphones and singing ballad after ballad until they meet at the end.

The revue's real selling point is its use of little-known Sondheim songs, including ones from his first musical "Saturday Night," which was written in the 1950s but not produced until half a century later, as well as songs cut from "Follies," "Company" and "A Little Night Music." As any Sondheim fan knows, his outtakes are still superb.

As directed by Jonathan Silverstein, "Marry Me a Little" proves to be charming and extremely delicate. A hipster-looking Jason Tam and geeky Lauren Molina provide well-sung performances that capture the insecurities and emotional longings of their characters.

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