"Miracles: The Unsung Stephen Sondheim" is the title of Off the Circle Theater Company's latest production at D.C. Space, which raises the musical question: Why unsung? Well, even Stephen Sondheim, who's had many a miraculous hit, has written his share of tunes that are hard to hum.
The show presents the Sondheim B list--selections from three musicals that didn't quite make it on Broadway: "Anyone Can Whistle," a kind of musical "Our Town" that includes the "Miracle Song"; "Pacific Overtures," a satirical short-course in the history of Japan; and "Follies," with Sondheim's respectful sendups of Gershwin, Berlin, Rodgers & Hart et al.
Director Frederic Lee & company, especially Rob Bowman on piano and John Hage on percussion and recorder, have produced a fun if not particularly well-paced evening. It's a bit too long, with two intermissions, but sports some pleasant singing and a couple of standout performances.
Both are by Pam Bierly, a lithe redhead with powerful presence, who brings saturnine spirit to the song "Me and My Town" from "Anyone Can Whistle" and has the closest thing to a show-stopper in a Judy Garland-esque scorcher from "Follies" called "I'm Still Here."
She's the only performer in the company with both good moves and a big voice--and the only one who consistently makes you set aside your tonic. MIRACLES -- At D.C. Space through October 29.