BUCKS COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
39th Anniversary Season
The Hammerstein and Sondheim American Songbook Tapestry Woven in Bucks County
Yardley Community Centre
Saturday, April 8, 2017
by phone 215-493-3010, and at the door ($25/$18/$10),
with cash, check, or credit card. Doors open at 7pm for 7:30 show.
*tickets are non-refundable
Focused on the Bucks Country-centric weave of Hammerstein’s and Sondheim’s esteemed careers, BCPAC will help celebrate the bonds between Broadway and Bucks County through the lens of NYC jazz artists. Organized by Matthew Parrish, a long-time Bucks County resident, the performance will be studded with six world class musicians.
Matthew plays jazz bass throughout the world. He has performed and recorded with many greats such as Al Grey, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, Etta Jones, Houston Person, Paquito D’Rivera, Bobby Durham, Mickey Roker, Shirley Scott, Winton Marsalis, Regina Carter, Stefon Harris, Jackie Terrason, Orrin Evans, and Kenny Barron. Matthew also enjoys composing and arranging music, and he has a special gift of bringing accomplished musicians and artists together strictly for a love of entertainment and excellence that no audience can deny. His jazz performance finales for the past three BCPAC performance seasons have been packed and received standing ovations.
“The Hammerstein and Sondheim American Songbook Tapestry Woven in Bucks County” production, a working title, will be presented at the Yardley Community Center, accommodating 240 audience members. A sample of noted Oscar Hammerstein II works to be performed are “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!,” “South Pacific,” “ The King and I,” and “Show Boat.” Additionally, unforgettable works from Stephen Sondheim which are sure to delight our audiences include “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and “Sweeney Todd.”
Narration by one-of-a-kind musical lecturer/actor/musician, Fred Miller, will include historical and anecdotal information focused on the Hammerstein-Sondheim link. Fred will offer accounts of detailed Bucks County connections for certain songs and background on their impetus, including an interesting discussion of the Hammerstein and Sondheim mentoring/student, father/ son-like relationship
The Hammerstein and Sondheim ‘Tapestry’ production will include two accomplished vocalists, Paul Jost and Marianne Solivan, with exceptional abilities to transmit the beauty and conviction of important Hammerstein and Sondheim works with their voice instruments, whether in single or duet songs. The other musicians won’t be ‘backing’ the vocalists, but will be part of one, unified dedication to relaying all the feeling and complexities of the works. The Hammerstein and Sondheim Tapestry is a one-of-a-kind, special story that involved not one, but two, epic lyricist/composers, and will take place in our own Bucks County
The superior artistry of Oscar Hammerstein, II, and Stephen Sondheim, lyricist/composers, intertwined during the decades they called Bucks County ‘home’. Hammerstein’s Doylestown, PA farm purchase before World War II reflected his love of country life. One can surmise that the pastoral Bucks County setting had some bearing on his tender and heartfelt songbook creations.
Stephen Sondheim arrived in Doylestown, PA as a young child in the 1940’s, with his recently divorced mother. Sondheim drew musical inspiration and influence from the accomplished Oscar Hammerstein. Oscar was actually Sondheim’s next door neighbor. A union was formed with Hammerstein mentoring Sondheim and even taking on a fatherly role during Sondheim’s youth.
The foundation was set for Sondheim to go on to California and create his legacy, including the lyrics for “West Side Story” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and collaborations to create songs for “Gypsy,” “A Little Night Music,” and “Sweeney Todd.”
Bucks County has always been a draw for artists, performers, and writers, with its proximity to New York City, but more affordable country character than pricier areas such as Westchester County or Long Island, New York, or commutable-but-pastoral portions of Connecticut.