The School of Music, Theatre & Dance, brings Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s classic musical A Little Night Music to life in a new production. A Little Night Music presents the story of long lost lovers Desiree Armfelt and Fredrik Egerman, who, after 14 years, 2 children, and 1 new marriage find themselves together again. Of course life, and love, is never simple and this play seeks to discover what happens when the past and present collide during a summer weekend in the country.
Although slow to start, A Little Night Music found its stride during the very end of the first act and presented an interesting reflection on the nature of love and what can happen when love is lost but not forgotten. The strength of the production was the portrayal of the two leads, Desiree (Eleanor Todd) and Fredrik (Conor McGiffin), and the humorous supporting couple Count Carl-Magnus (Elias Wygodny) and his wife Charlotte (Jordana Grolnick). Todd and McGiffin had great on-stage chemistry and the ease with which they bantered and laughed with each other made all of their scenes together extremely enjoyable. Although they represented a different kind of love, the characters of Carl-Magnus and Charlotte were similarly fun to watch. Wygodny’s portrayal of jealous lover and mostly proper soldier Carl-Magnus was intriguing and humorous, and Grolnick’s deadpanned depressive one-liners provided a hilarity that often stole the scene. Together Wygodny and Grolnick presented a wonderfully amusing couple who shone in every scene they were a part of.
While the music was mostly enjoyable and the bits of witty dialogue were definitely appreciated, the overall production was not completely compelling and oftentimes I found myself wishing we were at the closing number. The plot itself was rather predictable and there were moments full of exposition and almost no action, which made it hard to be fully invested in what was happening onstage. Although not all of the cast’s individual performances were as strong as the leads, they did perform well as an ensemble, which made up for some of the awkward and duller moments.
Overall A Little Night Music was an interesting production. Although somewhat predictable, it did have humorous moments and some well sung songs, including the most recognizable “Send in the Clowns.” I’m glad to have seen it once, and am looking forward to see what the School of Music, Theatre, & Dance does next.