San Jose’s 3Below opens with Sondheim revue

South Bay theater lovers are invited to get up close and personal with Stephen Sondheim at the new 3Below in San Jose.

Formerly the Camera 3 movie complex, renovated 3Below (three theaters below the Second Street parking structure) kicks off the live theater portion of its inaugural programing with “Sondheim on Sondheim” today.

(As well as stage productions, the remodeled complex is offering revival movie screenings, interactive films, comedy, music, karaoke, open mic nights, classes and children’s programming in its 250-, 99- and 89-seat theaters.)

“Sondheim on Sondheim” directors and producers Scott Evan, Shannon Guggenheim and Stephen Guggenheim call the revue both an “excellent primer-course for ‘tween musical theater fans, and a graduate-level treat for students who’ve been studying him for decades.”

Conceived and first directed by Sondheim’s decade-long collaborator James Lapine, the show includes plentiful video footage of the composer, offering an inside view of his personal life and artistic process.

The 100-minute performance of beloved and obscure material from Sondheim’s songbook (19 shows) boasts a dedicated cast, including Amy Bouchard, Stephen Guggenheim, Susan Gundunas, Jeremy Kreamer, Hayley Lovgren, Jim Ambler, Martin Rojas Dietrich and Theresa Swain, who, during auditions, were called upon to share their favorite Sondheim memory.

They all “spoke with great reverence about how this master’s compositions and lyrics have changed their life,” said co-director Shannon Guggenheim.

In a related note, Bay Area vocalist (and longtime Sondheim fanatic) Craig Jessup, accompanied by pianist Ken Muir, brings his Sondheim show to San Francisco’s Society Cabaret in the Hotel Rex on Feb. 17.

Sondheim on Sondheim
Where: 3Below Theaters & Lounge, 288 S. Second St., San Jose
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Feb. 4
Tickets: $41 to $58
Contact: (408) 404-7711,

Leslie Katz

Recent Posts

Golden State Warriors announce staff promotions, including Nick Kerr

OAKLAND -- Ahead of Monday's official media day, the Golden State Warriors announced a slew of promotions throughout the organization,…

13 mins ago

Troubling Tennessee Williams’ ‘Baby Doll’ at Shelton Theater

One thing’s for sure: Tennessee Williams loved his female characters -- the desperate cats on hot tin roofs, the faded…

34 mins ago

SFUSD unveils new earthquake curriculum

Earthquakes are part of the fabric of the landscape in the Bay Area, and that’s why we’re shaking things up…

3 hours ago

School board candidates debate solutions to SF’s achievement gap

San Francisco Unified School District’s persistent achievement gap emerged as a hot-button issue — and a “community school” concept offering…

10 hours ago

Those impacted by the War on Drugs still wait for cannabis permits in SF

When Rodney Hampton Jr. was 19 and living in Bayview-Hunters Point public housing, he was arrested by police on an…

10 hours ago

Women in focus at sixth SF Japan film fest

Even though it ran two decades ago when the Asian Art Museum was still squeezed into the side of the…

11 hours ago