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Red Branch Theatre pays tribute to father of modern American musical

Erin Branigan sings a number from "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow," the tribute to the music of Stephen Sondheim at the Red Branch Theatre in Columbia.
Erin Branigan sings a number from "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow," the tribute to the music of Stephen Sondheim at the Red Branch Theatre in Columbia. (Submitted photo)

Stephen Sondheim's lengthy career as the composer of Broadway musicals gets sampled in the musical revue "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow," which you'll have the opportunity to love from Sept. 19 to 21 at Red Branch Theatre Company.

"Sondheim is the father of modern American musical theater and we wanted to pay homage to him and his contribution to the canon," said Red Branch managing director Tiffany Underwood Holmes.

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This Columbia theater company has given the overall title "On Love and Loss" to its current season. Holmes observed that "Sondheim's songs about love and theater" fit neatly into that theme.

There also are a couple of other reasons why the theater felt now was a good time to do a Sondheim program. The theater's last full-scale Sondheim production was "Into the Woods" in 2011, so it seemed time to do something Sondheim-related again. Also, the theater staged a non-Sondheim-oriented cabaret last season and felt the upcoming Sondheim musical revue would follow through on that cabaret format.

"You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" actually has a bit of a past. This musical revue was first produced nationally in 1983 and has popped up at theaters ever since.

The 90-minute-long show incorporates songs from Sondheim musicals including "Sweeney Todd," "Anyone Can Whistle," "Merrily We Roll Along," "A Little Night Music" and "Company."

There are 22 individual songs in the show. They range from such well-known numbers as "Send in the Clowns" from "A Little Night Music" to such lesser-known numbers as "So Little to Be Sure Of" from the composer's early musical "Anyone Can Whistle."

The Red Branch production features a mixture of its own company members and some guest performers. This production is being done as a benefit for the theater, meaning that all cast and crew members are donating their time.

The co-directors of the show are Grace Anastasiadis and Janelle Broderick. They are both staff members at Howard Community College, which is a partner organization with Red Branch.

Music director and solo pianist for the show is Dustin Merrell.

The performers are Amanda Spellman, Wendy Baird, Patrick Klink, Wil Lewis III, Annette Wasno, Corey Jones, Peter Boyer, Harlow DeCarlo Raspberry, Andy Kay, Emily Morgan, Erin Brannigan, Caroline Griswold Short, Kathryn Marshall, Cheryl Campo and Kevin Cleaver.

"You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" will be performed Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m., at Red Branch Theatre Company, 9130-I Red Branch Road in Columbia. Tickets are $20, $18 for seniors and students, in advance; $22 for all if purchased at the door. Call 410-997-9352 or go to http://www.redbranchtheatrecompany.com.

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