SPRINGFIELD, MA (October 21, 2022) – The Springfield Jewish Community Center will hold a celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s music on the first anniversary of his passing at the JCC, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 7:00pm. Cantor Elise Barber along with a variety of vocalists from throughout the Pioneer Valley will perform selections from Sondheim’s work, and a special performance by the Mak’hela Chorus will be featured. Additionally, Smith College Professor of Theatre Arts, Ellen W. Kaplan, will offer her insights into the life and work of Sondheim. A dessert reception will follow the program which is free and open to the public.
Appearing with Cantor Elise Barber, who has performed in a Broadway National Tour in addition to her religious leadership roles, will be Mak’hela – the Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts, Canto Diana Brewer and Rabbi Ben Weiner of the Jewish Community of Amherst, Felicia Sloin Cindy Kassell, Haley Isadora, Stephanie Carlson, and Rachel Hirsch Schneider. Musical numbers will be drawn from Sondheim’s productions A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Sweeny Todd, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Candide.
Ellen Kaplan is a professor of acting and directing at Smith, a Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica, Fulbright Senior Specialist in Romania and Hong Kong, an actress, director and playwright. Says Kaplan, “Stephen Sondheim is a giant. It’s not too much to say that he reinvented the American musical.” Sondheim received an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and 8 Tonys – including a Lifetime Achievement Award – among countless others. Kaplan continues, “It’s said that Theatre and Jewish practice are cousins, and that theatre is secular synagogue. Surely, then, Sondheim, in his own unique way, is divine.”
Registration for this event is required, and reservations can be made at SpringfieldJCC.org or by calling 413-739-4715. This event is supported in part by Falcetti Pianos, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and the Jewish Endowment Foundation. This musical offering is part of the Springfield JCC’s support of the cultural arts in the Pioneer Valley, and is one of the Adult Program offerings for the 2022-23 season.