Putting It Together (1993 MTC Version)
In this Sondheim revue, two couples reflect on the complexities of modern relationships.
Show Essentials
5
Roles
PG13
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

A cast of three men and two women lead us through an evening at a cocktail party that explodes time and place as it deals with universal themes.

Man 3, alone onstage, gives the audience some instruction on how to approach the evening ("Invocations and Instructions to the Audience"). The rest of the company enters, illustrating the difficulties and precision that go into making a performance ("Putting It Together").

The performers become characters at a cocktail party; Man 1 and Woman 1 are the married couple hosting the party. It is their 25th anniversary. Man 2 works at Man 1's publishing firm and Woman 2 is a maid, hired for the evening. Man 3 is a mischievous and mysterious uninvited guest who often comments on the action. The characters schmooze ("Rich and Happy"). Man 3 comments on how they are just rolling along, unaware that things might go wrong ("Merrily Fragment #1"). Woman 2 pours a bottle of champagne for the men, remarking on her lack of skills but abundance of beauty ("Lovely"). Woman 2 then transforms into a guest as the men sing about the values of having a maid – for a variety of reasons ("Everybody Ought to Have a Maid"). As a party guest, Woman 2 attracts Man 1's eye, much to the chagrin of Woman 1 and Man 2; Man 3 watches Woman 1. Everyone privately wonders, and seethes, at the illicit glances exchanged by the couples ("Sooner or Later Sequence"). Man 1 attempts to seduce Woman 2 ("Hello, Little Girl"). Woman 1 catches him ("My Husband the Pig"). As Woman 1 bemoans her married life, Woman 2 commiserates ("Every Day a Little Death"). Man 3 comments once again on how easily relationships start to slip away ("Merrily Fragment #2").

Man 1 attempts to split up Man 2 from Woman 1 by telling him about another woman ("Have I Got a Girl for You"). This leads them both to ponder the beauty of women ("Pretty Women"). As Man 2 prepares to seduce Woman 2, going back and forth in his mind about the best approach, his thoughts are sung by Man 3 ("Now"). When he finally makes his move, they sing about the consummation of their relationship in all its glory and awkwardness ("Bang!").

Woman 1 suggests that she and Man 1 buy a house or go on a vacation to rekindle their marriage, but Man 1 is apathetic ("A Country House"). Man 3 reflects on how they got to this state in their marriage ("Merrily Fragment #3"). Woman 1 becomes drunk and lashes out at Man 1 ("Could I Leave You?").

Act Two

The company performs a number, out of character, about how tough things were, looking back, and how the situation has changed ("Back in Business"). Back at the cocktail party, they start to get stoned ("Rich and Happy and Stoned"). Gradually sobering up, they begin to muse on the problems of love and sexual attraction ("Medley – A Little Night Music"). They decide to play a game, but the relationships between the couples become even more strained ("What Would We Do without You?"). Man 3 gets them to play a gun game, and the others explore what it means to have a gun ("Gun Song").

They switch to another game, where everyone writes a question on a card for someone else ("A Little Priest"). Man 3 changes the rules on them after they've written the questions, and now Woman 2 must answer her own question. She promptly responds ("The Miller's Son"). Man 2 then has to answer to the fact that he remains unwed and how it feels ("Live Alone and Like It"). Man 1 is then tasked with answering a question about his feelings on being married ("Sorry-Grateful").

Man 3 then asks Woman 1 whom she was thinking of on the day that she got married; she mentions a girl who cries over the one who got away ("Sweet Polly Plunkett"). It's Man 3's turn to answer a question about marriage ("I Could Drive a Person Crazy!"). Following his presentation, they declare Man 3 the winner, but before it's decided, Man 2 wants to try again. This time, he discusses his desire for a marriage that doesn't involve compromise or sacrifice ("Marry Me a Little"). Woman 1 reveals that she was panicked on her wedding day ("Getting Married Today"). Man 3 again comments on how far things have gotten off track ("Merry Fragment #4").

Man 1 responds to Woman 1's revelation by expressing a yearning of his own for marriage, despite all of the messiness that it entails ("Being Alive"). Woman 1 asks him why they can't go back to how things used to be, acknowledging that maybe the good old days never existed ("Like It Was"). Despite this, all of the characters revel in the strength of old friendships ("Old Friends / Finale").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Small (Up to 10 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: None

Character Breakdown

Man 1
Party host. Rich. Hard-working. Pompous. Bit of a sexual pig. Big brother type to Man 2. Outwardly perfect, but inwardly miserable in his marriage. Emotionally absent and tired of his equally absent wife.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Man 2
Not as confident as his colleague, who he possesses a younger brother type of relationship with. Cerebral and calculated with charm. Enjoys being a bachelor, but may have a desire to become married someday.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Man 3
The uninvited party guest. Awkwardly honest with people he doesn't know and serves lots of unwarranted commentary. Mischievous, kooky, and forward.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Woman 1
Party hostess. Rich. Outwardly happy but truthfully miserable with her marriage. Regal and proper, yet depressed and shallow. Yearns to become a mother but is discontent with her distant husband.
Gender: female
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Woman 2
A maid who eventually becomes a party guest. Winsome and sexy, she routinely acts out because of her 'loneliness.' Ditzy, with little book smarts, but knows how to turn manipulate people as a sultry seductress.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Full Song List
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Invocation and Instructions to the Audience (from The Frogs)
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Putting It Together (from "Sunday in the Park with George")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Rich and Happy #1 (from "Merrily We Roll Along")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Merrily We Roll Along #1 (From "Merrily We Roll Along")/Lovely (From "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Everybody Ought to Have a Maid (from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Sooner Or Later Sequence
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Hello, Little Girl (from "Into the Woods")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): My Husband the Pig; Every Day a Little Death (from "A Little Night Music")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Merrily We Roll Along #2 (from "Merrily We Roll Along")/Have I Got a Girl for You? (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Pretty Women (from "Sweeney Todd")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Now (from "A Little Night Music")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Bang! (from "A Little Night Music")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Country House (from "Follies, 1987")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Merrily We Roll Along #3 (from "Merrily We Roll Along")/Could I Leave You? (From "Follies")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Back in Business (From "Dick Tracy")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Rich and Happy And Stoned (from Merrily We Roll Along)
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Night Waltzes: Love Takes Time; Remember?; In Praise of Women; Prepetual Anticipation; The Sun Won't Set (From "A Little Night Music"--stage and film)
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Game Sequence #1 - Gun Song
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Game Sequence #2: A Little Priest (From "Sweeeny Todd")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): The Miller's Son (From "A Little Night Music")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Live Alone and Like It (From "Dick Tracy")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Sorry-Grateful (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Sweet Polly Plunkett (From "Sweeney Todd")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): I Could Drive a Person Crazy (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Marry Me a Little (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Getting Married Today (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Merrily We Roll Along #4 (from Merrily We Roll Along)/Being Alive (From "Company")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Like It Was (from "Merrily We Roll Along")
Putting it Together (1993 MTC Version): Old Friends/Merrily We Roll Along #5 (From "Merrily We Roll Along")

Show History

Inspiration


Putting It Together was developed partly in response to the many requests for an updated version of the Sondheim revue, Side by Side by Sondheim, but the composer did not want to create just another revue, so he and director Julia McKenzie devised a loose plot that involves two couples at a party in a Manhattan apartment. Many of the classic Sondheim songs presented appear in an entirely different context from the manner in which they were originally written, so the show is billed as a "review" (rather than a revue ) of the composer's work.

Productions


The original production of Putting It Together premiered in Oxford, England, at the Old Fire Station on January 27, 1992, directed by Julia McKenzie, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and starring one of England's great leading ladies, Diana Rigg.

Putting It Together was next seen Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club. Previews began March 2, 1993, at City Center Theater, it opened April 1, and closed May 23, 1993. The show ran for 59 performances and 37 previews. The production featured Julie Andrews, Rachel York, Michael Rupert and Christopher Durang.

Cultural Influence

  • A double-compact disc recording was released by RCA Records.
  • The 1993 MTC Off-Broadway version of Putting It Together led to a separate 1999 version that ran on Broadway.

Trivia

  • Putting It Together marked Julie Andrew's return to the New York City stage after an absence of more than thirty years.
  • The original 1992 London cast featured Diana Rigg, Clive Carter, Claire Moore, Clarke Peters and Kit Hesketh-Harvey.
  • The initial production of Putting It Together was devised by Julia MacKenzie and performed in Oxford, England, starring Diana Rigg.

Critical Reaction

"At times I forgot I was watching a revue and stopped thinking 'oh this song is from...' as I found myself so lost in the music and so entranced by the terrific cast."
– West End Frame

Connect

Billing

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
(100%)
 
Words and Music by
STEPHEN SONDHEIM
(50%)
 
Devised by
STEPHEN SONDHEIM and JULIA McKENZIE
(25%)
 
The Author shall receive billing credit in all forms of publicity and advertising under the control of the Producer where and whenever the title of the play appears. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent as the Author. In addition, only stars billed above the title of the Play may receive billing as large or prominent as the Author. No more than two stars may be billed above the title of the Play. No billing box may be used. No person shall be accorded possessory credit (i.e., "Director's Production of" or "Producer's Production of") with the title of the Play.
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
KEYBOARD1 - CONDUCTOR SCORE2
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK8

Production Resources

Resource
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSION