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Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little returns to the capital

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

STEPHEN Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little is returning to the London stage for the first time in 17 years in a brand new production at St. James Studio, where it runs for just 16 performances – from July 31 (previews from July 29) to August 10, 2014.

Marry Me A Little pieces together a selection of Sondheim’s songs to tell a charming and bittersweet tale of love, loneliness and survival.

Two single strangers, left alone in their studio apartments on a Saturday night, pass their time with sweetly secret, unshared fantasies, never knowing that they’re just a floor away from each other and the end of their lonely dreams.

Told entirely through songs written early in Sondheim’s career or previously intended for his ground-breaking Broadway musicals including A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Company, Follies and A Little Night Music, Marry Me a Little is described as a funny, moving and sophisticated musical and a fascinating look at “the songs that got away”.

Marry Me a Little was co-created by Craig Lucas, who met Sondheim whilst performing in the ensemble of the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd. In discussions at rehearsals and parties, Sondheim mentioned to Lucas the large number of songs he had written that hadn’t been performed or published. Lucas requested permission to use these songs, and with his collaborator Norman René, pieced them together to create a narrative between a young man and woman.

Marry Me a Little premiered Off-Off Broadway in 1980 and was described by the New York Times as “an unusually moving evening”. It was last seen in London in 1997 at the Bridewell Theatre in a production starring Clive Carter and Rebecca Front.

Produced by Aria Entertainment in association with Guy James and Knockhardy Productions, and by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York, Marry Me a Little is directed by Hannah Chissick and has musical direction by David Randall. Casting has yet to be announced.

Tickets: £15 (previews), £17 – £22 (weekdays), £19 – £25 (weekends). To book, call the box office on 0844 264 2140 or visit www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm; 3pm on August 2, 9 and 10; 2pm on August 3; 7pm on August 10.

Also in St James Studio: Tristram Shandy Conception, Cock & Bull (June 10 to June 14, 2014).