Tony Award-nominated Emmy-winning actress, singer, and recording artist Liz Callaway is returning to Feinstein’s/54 Beneath for 4 nights this month together with her new present To Steve with Love. It’s a heartfelt celebration of the enduring composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and the monumental affect he had on her life and profession, in honor of what would have been his 92nd birthday on March 22.
In 1970, Callaway noticed Firm, with music and lyrics by Sondheim, directed by Hal Prince, on the Alvin Theatre; it was her first Broadway present and an unforgettable expertise that may ceaselessly reverberate together with her. A decade later, in 1981, she made her Broadway debut in Merrily We Roll Alongside, additionally written by Sondheim, directed by Prince, and opening on the Alvin. Since then – along with her many acclaimed roles on and off Broadway (together with 5 years as Grizabella in Cats), her in depth live performance appearances all over the world and all through the US (singing with symphony orchestras, legends like Johnny Mathis, and her gifted sister Ann Hampton Callaway), her voice work in common animated movies (amongst them, performing the Oscar-nominated music “Journey to the Previous” in Anastasia), and her seven solo albums – she has continued to return to the inspiring works of Sondheim.
She has appeared in Merrily We Roll Alongside, A Stephen Sondheim Night, Follies in Live performance at Lincoln Middle, and Contained in the Actor’s Studio: Stephen Sondheim, in Marry Me a Little, as Dot in Sunday within the Park with George, and within the European premiere of Sondheim on Sondheim at London’s Royal Competition Corridor. And now Callaway pays homage to the life and songs of essentially the most influential grasp of the trendy musical together with her expressive crystalline soprano vocals and particular tales in an authentic meticulously curated night of his phrases and music.
Liz graciously agreed to share her insights and recollections with us upfront of her NYC premiere of To Steve with Love, which can be carried out in particular person earlier than a stay viewers at Feinstein’s/54 Beneath from March 23-26, and likewise livestreamed in actual time for one evening solely on the cabaret live performance’s deadline.
What does Stephen Sondheim imply to the world of musical theater?
Liz: Steve was a pioneer. He challenged us each as viewers members and as performers. He made us assume and care a couple of myriad of topics and folks due to the brilliance and complexity of his songs. Engaged on his music makes me see that each music has so many statements and contradictions; he was opinionated however all the time open to different folks’s concepts, and it’s so wealthy to sing. I’m all in regards to the lyrics and his are poetry. Instructing was vital to him and he was beneficiant together with his time, mentoring lots of people. There are such a lot of issues I admired about him. Since he handed away, I’ve been immersed in him and his interviews. There’s an enormous gaping gap in my coronary heart and in lots of people’s now. It’s exhausting to think about a world with out him.
What has he meant to your profession and to you personally as a performer?
I really feel like Sondheim has all the time been in my DNA due to my early expertise with the musical Firm. My mother and father noticed the present earlier than I did they usually introduced dwelling the forged album. I beloved it, I stored listening to it, I memorized it, and I sang each half in each music. Ultimately I noticed the present on stage, and truly stated, “there shouldn’t be phrases there” as a result of the characters have been speaking in between verses. It’s as a result of I knew his songs from the album!
Later, he took an opportunity on me with Merrily and finally began utilizing me for live shows. His work offers me the chance, offers me the phrases, to be a personality, which is a dream for an actress. He does a lot for the actor. And there’s a lot extra to discover as I become old; I can do THIS music now, I can dig deeper – and that’s not a frequent prevalence for ladies. To cope with the grief of him being gone, I wish to preserve his music on the market. He began my profession and, over 40 years later, I nonetheless really feel that there’s a lot of him to sing.
What’s your most cherished reminiscence of Steve?
Oh, wow, that’s robust. I might say – and I even have it in a photograph – we did a reunion live performance of Merrily in 2002, and it was an unbelievable expertise. The present was not successful when it first opened on Broadway; it was very unhappy, it closed rapidly, then we did the forged album. The reunion was glad, everybody was there with their youngsters, and Hal was there, too. There’s a photograph of Hal and Steve hugging, and of Steve giving me an enormous hug. The emotion of that reminiscence could be very particular to me. I’m pondering I’d incorporate a couple of images into the present at 54 Beneath.
Do you may have one favourite Sondheim music that you simply relate to essentially the most and all the time take pleasure in performing?
I might say . . . can I say two? . . . effectively really three? I really like “Transfer On” [from Sunday in the Park with George]. I really like “Our Time” [from Merrily We Roll Along]. I really like “Firm.” Oh, I really like so many!!! Placing the present collectively, it was so exhausting to slim the music checklist down. I believe I’ll should do Half II and Half III live shows!
What do you hope the viewers takes away out of your tribute to him?
Let me begin by saying what I’m trying ahead to most within the live performance is to have the collective expertise with the viewers – not simply singing Sondheim alone in my automotive or within the kitchen whereas I’m making dinner, as I do on a regular basis. The fantastic thing about 54 Beneath is the intimacy. We’ve all been grieving him, however it is a celebration. It’s not nearly ME doing a present; it’s a two-way avenue and we will do that collectively. Let’s all take part and rejoice Sondheim, by our tears, with one another.
Thanks, Liz, on your time and on your lovely homage. I’m positive followers in NYC are trying ahead to seeing you again at Feinstein’s/54 Beneath, simply as audiences all over the place are to the livestream.
To Steve with Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim performs on Wednesday, March 23-Friday, March 26, at 7 pm, at Feinstein’s/54 Beneath, 254 West 54th Avenue, NYC, cellar. For tickets (priced at $55-110, plus charges and a $25 per particular person meals and beverage minimal), name (646) 476-3551, or go on-line. Doorways open at 5:30 pm; everybody attending an in-person present should current proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a sound photograph ID to enter. The efficiency on March 26, starting at 7 pm, may even be livestreamed in actual time solely (and won’t be out there on demand). For tickets (priced at $25), click on right here.