When A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC premiered on Broadway in 1973, Stephen Sondheim dazzled the critics and won six Tony awards and the New York Drama Critics award. Since then, the musical has been adapted to film, performed around the world, and become an opera group staple. Inspired by the 1955 Ingmar Bergman film “Smiles of a Summer Night,” Sondheim added the complex musical sounds typically associated with the classics and sparkling, luminous lyrics to give birth to a blockbuster. Now Knot Free Productions offers A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Greenway Court Theatre – with a few surprises in store for the audience.
Set in Sweden around 1900, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is the stuff dreams are made of. The tale begins when Madame Armfeldt (Zoe Bright) shares the secret of summer night smiles with her granddaughter Fredrika (Emma Rose). She cautions Fredrika to pay close attention, since those elusive smiles sneak up on us in three romantic stages – first, young and passionate love; then love shared by fools; and finally mature love. And we’re off and running as we follow Fredrik Egerman (Peyton Crim), his lovely young trophy wife Anne (Ty Deran), his young adult son Henrik (Amanda Kruger), and the darling of the stage Desiree Armfeldt (Catherine Wadkins).
With sly abandon, each principal flirts with love – and each other – in a multitude of dalliances which keep the mind (and body) hopping. There is the bombastic dragoon Count Carl-Magnus (Christopher Robert Smith), who demands faithfulness from his mistress Desiree – but soon enough learns that his wife Charlotte (Sarah Wolter) may demand a say in his sex life. Then there’s the servant girl Petra (Alexa Rosengaus), who has the hots for almost everybody and lets them know it. Petra has her roving eye set on Henrik, but he pines for his stepmother Anne. And Fredrik has spent 11 months of marriage trying to bed his reluctant bride – with no success. Woven throughout la ronde is Sondheim’s intoxicating music of the night – including the most famous popular hit in the show, “Send in the Clowns.” The surprise in this production? There’s a bit of gender tomfoolery to contend with.
With over 20 tunes to delight the ear and an absolutely magnificent set and colorful costumes of the era to delight the eye, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is a fantastical delight which will never fail to enchant audiences. Directed by Ryan O’Connor with musical direction by Anthony Zediker, the production also features the not inconsiderable talents of Ek Dagenfield (set design), Ty Deran (choreography), Michael Mullen (costume design), Donny Jackson (lighting design), Mia Glenn-Schuster (sound design), and Chadd McMillan (wig design). This is a group effort with radiant results. And the voices? It was easy to see why opera companies have found the show to their liking. Besides that, a quintet of real live musicians kept the magical music flowing.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is a must-see production which was over two years in the making. All set to perform in 2020, a little thing called the pandemic shut down A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and every other theater production for almost two years. It’s time to celebrate the return of live theater – and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is the perfect way to do that. By the way, the Greenway Court Theatre currently has all the CDC recommended safety cautions in place, including proof of vaccination and masks worn by all audience members during the performance.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC runs through March 13, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. Tickets range from $45 to $60. For information and reservations, call 323-673-0544 or go online.