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Spirit of Sondheim benefits ensemble
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Stephen Sondheim’s musicals have a universal appeal.

His scores include works ranging from "Into the Woods" to "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" to the musical made famous recently by Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd." And this range inspired local singer and writer Jeanne Luke to put together "Liars, Lovers and Cheats," a cabaret-style show of some of Sondheim’s best works as well as interesting facts about his life.

The show will be performed Saturday as part of an event to raise money for the 40th anniversary season of the Voices of North Georgia. The group’s goal is to offer six performances with an orchestra, said Luke, who is also president of the group.

The cabaret show will be performed by Singers Unlimited!, which was founded by Luke. It’s a singing and dance troupe for hire with members who range in age from 12 to 80.

They perform all Broadway shows, Luke said, and recently came off a performance of "Liars, Lovers and Cheats" at the Kudzu Playhouse in Roswell.

So, it was a natural fit to offer the same performance to the Gainesville area, she said.

"I proposed that we just do that show (for the fundraiser)," Luke said, adding that the show includes singing, dancing and stories.

"I narrate; it’s kind of like ‘So You think You Can Dance,’" she said. "I tell things about the composer and tell little factoids, little funny stories and tidbits so at the end of the show you know a lot more about Stephen Sondheim.

"He really is a musician’s composer. His music is not the kind of thing you can pick up and perform a week later. It sounds simpler than it is."

As a special treat, Luke’s other group, Variations, will make an appearance, too.