Sondheim in the Twin Cities

Sondheim in the Twin Cities
Dieter Bierbrauer
Dieter Bierbauer, who plays Robert in Theater Latte Da's production of "Company."
MPR Photo / John Birge

Stephen Sondheim is a genius of the theater who inspires a worshipful following. Two productions running side by side this month at two Twin Cities theater companies offer the opportunity to experience two of Sondheim's most iconic musicals: Company, at Theater Latte Da and Sunday in the Park with George at Bloomington Civic Theater.

Company is Sondheim's smart, funny, bittersweet, and powerful look at marriage and emotional intimacy. Its 1970 debut came at the height of the sexual revolution. But forty years later, Theater Latte Da's new production finds Company is still as timely as today's headlines, delving into the meaning of intimacy in the age of social media, and the definition of Marriage against the backdrop of Minnesota's proposed marriage amendment to the state constitution.

Sunday in the Park with George investigates other timeless themes of how the artist (in this case the pointillist painter Georges Seurat) finds -- or fails to find -- his place in the larger world around him, and the intimate relationships beside him.

For a sneak preview, we opened our studio for conversation and music from artists with both productions. From Bloomington Civic Theater, Director Karen Weber, Associate Director Rob Goudy, singers Joey Clark (George) and Jennifer Eckes (Dot), and pianist Alex Heetland. From Theater Latte Da, Director Peter Rothstein, singer Dieter Bierbrauer (Robert), and pianist Jerry Rubino.

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