Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim

by Joe Straw

Ok, so you’re not able to make it to Broadway this year because of the economy. But there is this little theatre in Westchester, The Kentwood Players are performing A Little Night Music, music and lyrics by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, suggested from a film by Ingmar Bergman and originally produced and directed on Broadway by the equaling amazing Harold Prince. Sheridan Cole Crawford directs this particular production.

Simply put, A Little Night Music is a musical about a family belonging and finding the right partner in relationship to the rest of the near world. As Madame Armfeldt (Silver Shreck) explains it to Frederika (Hannah Provisor) the summer night smiles three times: first on the young, second on fools, and third on the old. Frederika vows to find the smiles as they occur.

Fredrik, the father, (Kevin Michaels) married Anne Egerman (Kristin Towers-Rowles) eleven months ago. To date their marriage has not been consummated. Anne is smitten with Fredrik’s son Henrik (Jeremy Speed Schwartz) who is a seminary student but mildly interested.

The songs are indicative of the characters wants, Fredrik wants it “Now”, Henrik, the seminary student, wants it “Later” and Anne the wife wants it “Soon”. To whom she wants it soon from remains a matter of her personal tastes.

Fredrik takes Anne to the theatre and discovers Desiree (Susie McCarthy) his lover from an earlier liaison. Anne in her theatre box is disgusted by Desiree advances to Fredrik and leaves in a huff.

Later Fredrik sneaks back to meet secretly with Desiree. In the middle of the moment they are interrupted by Carl-Mangus (Jeremy Fillinger) who ultimately wants to kill Fredrik even though he is married to the lovely Countess Charlotte (Lynn Reed).

Madame Armfeldt invites everyone to the country to have a liaison. Through song and dance the characters eventually find the right partners and everyone lives, well you know the rest.

There are a number or remarkable performances in this production. Shreck as Armfeldt brings a delightfulness I have not seen in some time. McCarthy as Desiree is a wonderful actress and her rendition of “Send in The Clowns” rang true to form. Michaels as Fredrik has a likeable comic timing and Fillinger as Carl-Magnum presents us with the beast in everyman two solid feet on the ground and ready for the inevitable. Towers-Rowles as Anne also had a lot of very nice moments.

Others rounding out the cast were Jerry Cordova, Jacqueline Crist-Franzen, Harold Dershimer, Adam Dunberger, Shirley Hatton, Sarah Maher, Roby Rothstein and Karintha Touton.

Directed by Sheridan Cole Crawford and Produced by Jordan Bland. This production had a nice little four-piece band. Billy Wolfe was on Piano. Lacy Rostyak played violin. Greg Lee, who seemed to be enjoying the heck out of the show, was on the harp while Benson Preciado played the cello.

Opening night, sold out, standing room only, these are the words you like to hear on Broadway but it is equally impressive at the Westchester Playhouse. All this entertainment without the Broadway price tag and at a very low cost is yours just for the asking.

Reservations: 310-645-5156

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