Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Side by Side by Sondheim Memory: Cyril Richard and Kulkapolitan Players

While involved in Chicago theater I saw the most interesting contrasting productions of this show. 

It was Chicago at the Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place. Cyrl Ritchard was the star. He was a true star of stage and film, a consumate and polished professional. 

Ricard had a heart attack midway through the show, finished the show and died shortly thereafter. 

The show reopened in the most unique way imaginable; with Burr Tilstrom and the Kuklapolitian Players. 

A teenage Sondheim wrote for a song the show, sent it in, and it sat unopened for decades. The song was a love song from the puppets to Fran. It was not the best example of Sondheim's work, but with his approval it was added to the show. 

The highlight however was when Kukla, who has no mouth, sang "Send in the Clowns" held high above black clad Tilstrom. A pin spot focused on Kula then tightened to simply his tiny wooden head. We all swore the puppet was singing. - Art Lynch

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