Sondheim revue set for The Cat


From left: Cast members Carolyn Lynch, David Duncan, Ellen Kingston, Thom Brown, Gail Payne, Matthew Vire, who will all perform in “Side by Side,” from May 4-17. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Ellen Kingston fully embraces cabaret-style shows.

“I was the artistic director for Raleigh’s Dinner Theater in Indianapolis for a number of years down on Mass. Ave. (in Indianapolis),” Kingston said. “I got to do all kinds of revue shows. I love everything about them.”

“Side by Side by Sondheim” will be held May 4 to 17 at the 150-seat The Cat, 254 1st Ave. SW., Carmel.

“It’s a real cute show and pulls out a lot of his best stuff,” said June Clair, a Carmel resident.

The revue features songs from Sondheim musicals such as “Company,” “A Little Night Music” and “Follies.” In addition, there are songs Sondheim wrote the lyrics for from “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”

“The challenge is I expanded the cast a bit because we wanted to be a little more inclusive and reach more people and include more people in our production,” Kingston said. “So we have two couples, myself as the narrator and two accompanists. The challenge has been assigning everything. The original production only had three people on stage. So it’s taking this gorgeous music and assigning it to the different people that I have. It’s fun and challenging.”

As narrator, Kingston explains the setup for each number.

Clair and her husband, John, took over Carmel Repertory Theatre in 2013 and renamed it Carmel Theatre Company. The group had been using Studio 15 on Main Street.

Kingston said with her role as artist concierge with the Palladium, she can only direct one or maybe two shows a year.

“The goal is to direct one and appear in the other and not have to direct,” Kingston said. “I’ve never done as much directing as I have now. It’s mostly been performing or costuming.”

The Clairs ran Broad Ripple Playhouse for several years before it closed. Then Clair taught music for 15 years at Clay Middle School and helped with the theater productions before retiring in 2011.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. There are 7 p.m. performances May 4, 5, 6, 12 and 13 and 2:30 p.m. May 7. For tickets, visit