Caroline-Nicolian-Billy-Hepfinger-Lenora-Nemetz-and-Daniel-Krell-in-Pittsburgh-CLOs-Side-By-Side-By-Sondheim_-Photo-Matt-Polk.jpgSide by Side by Sondheim, playing now through August 18 at the Cabaret in Theater Square, is a celebration of the great composer Stephen Sondheimm he of the Gypsy, West Side Story and myriad other incredible musicals fame.  It features dozens of his best songs and little known gems, all connected by moments where the actors break that fourth wall and engage the audience by telling them factoids on what they’re about to hear or interesting tidbits on Sondheim’s life. Clever and engaging, the musical moves along swiftly, with tons of laughter along the way.

The cast of four, featuring Billy Hepfinger, Daniel Krell, Lenora Nemetz and Caroline Niccolian do a fabulous job with this production, making each song it’s own sort of revelation. Ms. Nemetz was never funnier than when she sang I Never Do Anything Twice, and Billy Hepfinger was superb during Marry Me A Little. And Caroline and Daniel are fabulous with I’m Not Getting Married Today.

And the show itself – filled with incredible songs like Could I Leave You, Everybody Says Don’t, Anyone can Whistle, Send in the Clowns and more – was not the only thing that was showstopping. Scenic designer Tony Ferrieri outdid himself with the stage. It was beautiful, multi-leveled living space decorated with an elegant flair full of flowing drapes, swinging doors, and lights on the floor and walls. Gorgeous.

Side by Side by Sondheim is a great way to spend 2 hours, though I assure you it’ll feel a lot shorter than that! Director and choreographer Richard Sabellico keeps the pace moving. You’ll laugh a lot, you’ll learn a lot, and, in the great words of the man himself, there’s

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!