Onuri Smith Appears In ‘Colour And Light’ Film

December 2, 2022 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Bermudian actor, singer and dancer Onuri Smith has appeared in a short musical film celebrating the life of American composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim.

Smith featured in an ensemble cast in Colour and Light [In Memory of Stephen Sondheim], the title of one of Sondheim’s beloved numbers, as part of a collaboration between the Tellers Company dance group and the Kings Theatre in Portsmouth.

Onuri Smith Colour And Light Bermuda December 1, 2022_2

The six-minute film, which was shot in October, is a medley of Sondheim’s most iconic songs and follows the titular character of George from Sunday in the Park with George and includes songs from West Side Story, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber and Into the Woods.

Smith was invited to perform by the film’s choreographer Taylor Walker after the Tellers Company artistic director visited the Italia Conte Academy of Theatre in London, where the 19-year-old attends, to conduct a workshop.

“The six-minute film burst his [Sondheim’s] ideas into life,” Smith told Bernews. “It was a three-day dance intensive where we improvised the movements for the piece. It was really cool to work with the other artists.”

Regarded as one of the key figures in musical theatre, Sondheim won eight Tony Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award, a Pulitzer Prize and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Onuri Smith Colour And Light Bermuda December 1, 2022_1

He also has a theatre named after him on Broadway and in London’s West End.

“I’ve studied Stephen Sondheim’s work at university, and it was definitely nice to delve deeper in a more practical sense while telling his story,” Smith said.

A former student at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Smith’s journey in musical theatre began at the Motion School of Dance before joining the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda, performing in South Pacific, Magic of the Musicals, Annie and The Wizard of Oz. He also worked with the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society.

Smith, who began performing aged ten, has received scholarships from the National Bermuda Dance Foundation, the Centennial Foundation, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda, and the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society.

“These scholarships help fund my education at Italia Conte,” said Smith, the founder of Inclusion Bermuda – a non-profit organisation empowering and inspiring the island’s LGBTQ+ youth. “Without them, none of this would be possible.”

- Photos above courtesy of Chris Kevern

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