The copious genius of Stephen Sondheim has been thoroughly discussed far and wide throughout his career. Thus, it is no surprise that even songs cut from his various hit shows are brilliant and exciting as well, and that is exactly what the reworked revue Marry Me a Little, conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, reveals. The intimate show follows two lonely singles, who are just one floor away from one another, on a Saturday night as they sing about their amiable and secret fantasies.
The show first premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1980. It made its Off-Broadway premiere in 1981 and ran for a healthy 96 performances. In 2012, the Keen Company brought the musical back to New York for the first time since 1987. The 2012 production incorporated new songs and a new concept that included updating the show to have social media outlets and technology present in the production.
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On the album, Jason Tam is in great voice with a bright and youthful tenor instrument. His singing is lively and high-spirited, but at times it comes across as too young and too cheerful. His approach works well to pull listeners into his performance on the album, making songs like the up-tempo "Saturday Night" and "Happily Ever After" spritely and engaging. However, the weighty darkness inherent in the lyrics of songs like "Ah, But Underneath" and even "Happily Ever After" do not resonate in his vocalizations, making them not ring in the hearts and psyches of the audience. Tam's performances on the disc are beautiful and tuneful, but they leave listeners longing for a deeper mastery and maturity form the talented vocalist.
Conversely, Laura Molina's lush soprano voice sings the score with affecting expressive depth and lyrical clarity. She handles toe-tapping numbers like "Can That Boy Foxtrot!" with endearing charismatic zeal. Furthermore, her sultry rendition of "The Girls of Summer" is a true highlight of the album. With a gorgeous sense of despair and longing on "Rainbows," she delivers each word to the heart of listeners as if they were handwritten love notes. Across the album, Molina's performances are emotionally assertive and nicely beguiling.
For fans of Sondheim or for fans of stirring music, Marry Me a Little (New Cast Recording) is more than enough to scratch any itch they may have. The quaint little revue is stunningly captured on the disc, making the recording a welcome addition to any musical aficionados collection.
Marry Me a Little (New Cast Recording) was released by Ghostlight Records in digital formats on September 24 with physical copies of the CD were released on November 19, 2013. The album can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold.