Putting It Together (1999 Broadway 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 a comedic monologue that summarizes a few Sondheim shows, warning the audience that Sondheim expects audiences to think about the material presented. He then gives the audience some instruction ("Invocations and Instructions to the Audience"). The other cast members enter, illustrating the difficulties and precision that go into performance ("Putting It Together").

The performers become characters at a cocktail party; Man 1 and Woman 1 are the married couple who are hosting the party, Man 2 works at Man 1's publishing firm, and Woman 2 is Man 2's date. Man 3 is a mysterious, uninvited guest who often comments on the action. The characters schmooze ("Rich and Happy"). Man 1 and Woman 1 share a moment of remembered romance ("Do I Hear a Waltz?"). Man 3 comments on how they are just rolling along, unaware that things might go wrong ("Merrily Fragment 1").

Woman 2 pours the men champagne and reflects on how her looks are all that she has, while Woman 1 mocks her ("Lovely"). Man 3 directs our attention to Man 1's attempts to seduce Woman 2 ("Hello, Little Girl"); Woman 1 walks in on them ("My Husband the Pig"). As Woman 1 bemoans her married life, Woman 2 commiserates ("Every Day a Little Death").

Man 3 sets up the next moment in one word: revenge. He enters, dressed as a butler, and Woman 1 flirts with him ("Everybody Ought to Have a Maid"). Meanwhile, Man 1 attempts to distract himself from Woman 1 by urging Man 2 to go out with some girls whom he knows ("Have I Got a Girl for You"). This leads them both to ponder the beauty of women ("Pretty Women"). Man 3 points us to an invitation – Woman 2 goes after Man 2 ("Sooner or Later"). This invitation results in consummation, with Man 3 commenting on the action ("Bang!").

Elsewhere, Woman 1 and Man 1 deal with desperation. Woman 1 suggests that they rekindle their marriage by going on a trip, but Man 1 is apathetic ("A Country House"). Man 2 and Woman 2, however, express their love for each other ("Unworthy of Your Love"). Man 3 comments on Woman 1 and Man 1 ("Merrily Fragment III"). Woman 1 becomes drunk and lashes out at Man 1 ("Could I Leave You?"). The whole cast sums up their lives, a celebration with a hint of irony ("Rich and Happy – Reprise").

Act Two

The cast is confident that things are looking up for them ("Back in Business") but they're all starting to find the cocktail party stuffy ("It's Hot up Here"). Man 3 invites us to hear what everyone is thinking: We begin with Woman 1. She feels that her life has become tedious and empty ("The Ladies Who Lunch").

Next, Man 1 regrets that the nature of life is such that making one choice means not making many others ("The Road You Didn't Take"). Man 2 is content with his singledom ("Live Alone and Like It"). Woman 2 is happy with the rich life into which she has grown, but that doesn't mean that she's satisfied with what she has ("More"). Man 3 points us to competition. The women then express their contempt for the way that women undercut each other ("There's Always a Woman").

Now it's Man 3's turn to share what he's thinking: He reflects on how he's attracted to women who can't stand him ("Buddy's Blues"). Man 1 contemplates how he and Woman 1 had something special ("Good Thing Going"). Man 2, meanwhile, wants to marry Woman 2, as long as it doesn't involve too much sacrifice or compromise ("Marry Me a Little"). Woman 1 remembers her wedding day – her first wedding day – when she was unsure and panicked ("Getting Married Today").

All of the characters then share their need for connection ("Being Alive"). Woman 1 wonders why they can't go back to how things used to be, acknowledging that the good old days perhaps never really existed ("Like It Was"). Despite this, all of the characters revel in the strength of old friendships that, no matter how they are tested, last ("Finale Act Two").

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: F5
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: A5
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: F5
Vocal range bottom: G3
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: D3
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: F3
Full Song List
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Invocation And Instructions To The Audience
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Putting It Together
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Rich And Happy
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Lovely
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Hello, Little Girl
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): My Husband The Pig
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Every Day A Little Death
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Everybody Ought To Have A Maid
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Have I Got A Girl For You
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Pretty Women
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Sooner Or Later
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Bang!
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Country House
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Could I Leave You?
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Back In Business
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Live Alone And Like It
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Marry Me A Little
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Getting Married Today
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Being Alive
Putting It Together (1999 Broadway Version): Like It Was

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.

A production of Putting It Together ran at the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles, California), from October 22, 1998, to December 6, 1998. The cast included Carol Burnett, George Hearn, John Barrowman, Ruthie Henshall and Bronson Pinchot.

This production then transferred to Broadway, opening on November 21, 1999, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran for 101 performances and 22 previews, closing February 20, 2000. It was directed by Eric D. Schaeffer and choreographed by Bob Avian, with the cast featuring Burnett (The Wife), Barrowman (The Younger Man) and Pinchot (The Observer) reprising their roles, with George Hearn (The Husband) and Ruthie Henshall (The Younger Woman). Kathie Lee Gifford replaced Burnett at some performances.

The review received its West End premiere in January of 2014 at London's St. James Theatre, with a cast that included Janie Dee, David Bedella, Damian Humbley, Caroline Sheen and Daniel Crossley. It was directed by Alastair Knights, with choreography by Matthew Rowland and Musical Supervision by Alex Parker.

Cultural Influence

  • A double-compact disc recording was released by RCA Records.
  • The 1993 Off-Broadway version of Putting It Together that premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club can be licensed separately from this Broadway version.
  • A recording of a live performance of Putting It Together is available, both on videotape and DVD, as Putting It Together: Direct from Broadway.

Trivia

  • Putting It Together marked the return of Burnett to the Broadway stage after performing in Moon over Buffalo in 1995.
  • At the final show, Burnett's skirt fell down during the song "Back in Business," which was included in the Direct from Broadway DVD.
     
  • 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

"Burnett's liberating touch provides much of the sparkle and, more intriguingly, the heart in Putting It Together, a sleek, more stylish Broadway reworking of the Sondheim revue from 1992."
– Charles Isherwood, "Variety"

"To date, this season has produced two absolutely must see musical entertainments, Kiss Me, Kate and now Putting It Together."
– Talkin' Broadway

Drama Desk Award

1993 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Rachel York)
1993 - Outstanding Orchestration, Nominee (Chris Walker)
1993 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Julie Andrews)

Outer Critics Circle Award

1993 - Best Off Broadway Musical, Nominee (Putting it Together)
1993 - Special Achievement Award, Winner (Julie Andrews)

Tony® Award

2000 - Best Actor in a Musical, Nominee (George Hearn)

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%)
 
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
(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
ERRATA LIST1
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK8
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 11
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 21
PIANO VOCAL SCORE ACT 11
PIANO VOCAL SCORE ACT 21

Production Resources

Resource
FULL SCORE VOL. 1 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 2 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 3 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 4 OF 4
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSION
REED 1CLARINET
REED 2ENGLISH HORN , OBOE
REED 3BASSOON
TRUMPET