Finishing the Hat: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, a cabaret conceived and directed by James Gardiner, adjunct professor in the Theater Department at George Mason University, is a companion piece to the earlier excellent production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
Sondheim, considered “the greatest composer and lyricist of the American musical”, is also responsible for West Side Story, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, and A Little Night Music, among others.
Gardiner was approached by Ed Gero to bring his expertise after Ken Elston, Chair of the Department of Theater and Dennis Layendecker, Director of School of Music decided to collaborate on a certificate program which will eventually lead to a BA degree in Musical Theater.
Finishing the Hat: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim will be performed by the Mason Cabaret, an educational performance company comprised of 10 GMU students selected through the audition process. Included will be most of the works by Sondheim except Pacific Overtures and Into the Woods. Gardiner did not include material from Into the Woods because of the earlier production, but Pacific Overtures was an unintentional omission.
This first venture intends to showcase the talent of George Mason students to area casting directors and audiences, as well as, to garner support for the current certificate program by raising awareness and funds.
Gardiner is 26 years old, a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, and is well-known for his work as an actor and playwright at the Round House Theatre, Studio Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Signature Theatre. Gardiner wrote the book for Glory Days, which had its genesis at Signature Theatre. When the production moved to The Circle in the Square on Broadway, Gardiner was 23, making him the youngest librettist to have his work produced on Broadway.
Since its Broadway production, Glory Days has been recorded and has had productions around the country, including LA, Canada and Japan.
Finishing the Hat: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim will have two performances – one on Dec. 12 at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and the other on Dec. 17 at Signature Theatre. Tickets for each performance of are $20. Proceeds from this event support students pursuing a certificate in musical theater as part of their undergraduate degree in Theater at George Mason University.
To purchase tickets to the Dec. 12 performance at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, please visit theater.gmu.edu, or purchase tickets at the door. The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia is located at 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA 22031.
Tickets for the Dec. 17 performance at Signature Theatre are only available at the door, cash or check only. Please do not contact the Signature Theatre box office for this event. Reservations may be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (703) 993-2195. Signature Theatre is located at 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA, 22206.