Cooperstown salutes Stephen Sondheim with “Hawkeye Revue”

Cooperstown salutes Stephen
Sondheim with “Hawkeye Revue”

Tim Iversen, left, leads his Revue orchestra through the Sondheim paces for this weekend’s show.

After the now-commonplace ‘two-year hiatus,’ Cooperstown Central School brings its popular “Hawkeye Revue” back to the Sterling Auditorium April 23 and 24 with “Thank You, Stephen” an all-Stephen Sondheim show that pulls pieces from every part of the late Broadway impresario’s storied career.

“Sondheim is my hero,” said CCS Music Director Tim Iversen. His first exposure to the maestro came at a young age, watching a PBS broadcast of “Sunday in the Park with George.”

“That performance really spoke to me,” he said. “He’s the reason I do half of what I do. I love his music and love this opportunity to expose the students to some exciting work.”

Mr. Iversen spoke to The Freeman’s Journal/ Hometown Oneonta while in the midst of working out orchestrations for a handful of the pieces for the show — one that will feature an orchestra comprising students and professional musicians side-by-side in collaboration.

“His is some challenging stuff,” he said of the Sondheim canon. “There’s nothing in here that’s easy. It’s good for the singers and the orchestra to get a good workout!”

Aside from offering a program filled with entertainment, Mr. Iversen said the Revue opens new avenues for education.

“It’s always a great experience for students to work right alongside a professional musician,” he said, recalling his own experiences as a teenager called to play with more seasoned ensembles. “You pick up on technique, on listening skills.”

The Revue is a production of the CCS Thespians, giving the troupe an on-stage opportunity beyond its annual musical.

“It always bothered me that there aren’t enough big roles in one show to put kids in the limelight,” he said. “When we started the Revue ten years ago, it was to give everybody a chance to get out there to perform. They’re all really excited about it, and that’s what counts.”

“Thank You, Stephen” begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, at the N.J. Sterling Auditorium. The CCS Thespians ask for a freewill donation, but there are no set ticket prices. Patrons will be asked to wear a mask and keep one seat between families.

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