Following its success in 2012, the biennial Stephen Sondheim Society event Brush Up Your Sondheim returns with even more activities for participants to enjoy this year, including a Q&A session with the great man himself via a live video link from New York in real time. During this coming weekend (26-27 July) at the Royal Academy of Music this is a rare opportunity for Sondheim lovers to put questions to, and hear from, a musical theatre icon who rarely does recorded interviews these days.
As part of its role as a charitable trust, the Society seeks to create a greater interest and appreciation of Sondheim’s work, and provide a focal point where people can share their interests.
Brush Up Your Sondheim is a weekend summer school where various practitioners of Sondheim’s work across several areas – including performers, directors and educators – will share their knowledge and expertise to further participants’ knowledge and understanding of the composer/lyricist’s work.
Timothy Sheader, artistic director at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (which had great success with Into the Woods) will open the proceedings; Mary Hammond, a society trustee and professor at the Royal Academy of Music, will demonstrate a Sondheim workshop with students from RAM and other leading drama schools; award-winning director Michael Strassen, who has just directed Pacific Overtures at the Union Theatre, will take people through an intense Sondheim practical; and well known musical theatre artists and practitioners such as producer Danielle Tarento, Alex Parker, Rebecca Caine, Alex Young and many more will also give their insights into interpreting Sondheim’s art.
Sondheim Society trustee Peter Auker who originated and organised this programme said: “I hope that this extraordinary range of activities and talented individuals who have not only worked with and performed Sondheim’s material, will inform those attending of Stephen Sondheim’s genius and artistry and inspire them to learn more, see more, and do more Sondheim! I am also very excited about Stephen agreeing to this live video link Q&A and look forward to seeing the questions our audience will have for him!”