The staging is creative. The dancers swirl. Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at Indiana University is terrific.
Behind The Scenes
The production is directed and choreographed by George Pinney, with musical direction by Terry LaBolt. Erica Griese’s costumes are varied, classy, lovely, and in several instances smashingly beautiful, from the habits of the maids and butlers to the fancy dresses of the upper classes.
Andrew Brewer brings appropriate pathos to the part of the an upright lawyer who knows too much and suspects more. Leslie Spitznagel is lovely as his young, naive wife who knows too little and suspects less. Matt Birdsong plays the lawyer’s repressed young son, a seminary student. Mark Banik blusters as a dim witted dragoon whose much-abused wife (Jamie Anderson) is dutiful nevertheless.
Julia Mosby plays the actress, Desiree, who is the current mistress of the dragoon and a former love of the lawyer. Abby Rowold is her wise, aged mother; Jenna Schneider her charmingly querulous daughter. Hana Slavin is spunky as the maid who toys with the tense seminarian, but settles on the more relaxed butler, Martin Allegretti.
A Little Night Music was written nearly forty years ago. Several of its songs have become pretty familiar, but the cast pulls the numbers off with fresh energy. In recounting her years of romantic triumph Hermione Gingold hit the mark when she sang “Liaisons,” while Abby Rowold was rueful and proud. “The Miller’s Son” has been sung many a time since D. Jamin-Bartlett performed it on Broadway. Yet Hana Slavin’s performance was infused with energy and thoughtfulness. Each word was in place.
The show’s centerpiece is “Send in the Clowns,” a song that probably everyone in a given audience has heard dozens of times. In this production, though, the crowd collectively holds its breath as the piece begins. Julia Mosby begins wistfully, with confidence. She sings it beautifully, unveiling the song’s real depth: its dignified pain, its anger. Her delivery is a thrilling triumph.
In the recent production of West Side Story at the IU Opera Theater, most of the leads were from the Musical Theatre Program. In this production the compliment is returned. Four of the five singers, Steven Eddy, Kelly Glyptis, Lacy Sauter and Leslie Smith are students in the Jacobs School of Music. The fifth, Mathew Martin, is in the Musical Theatre Department.
A Little Night Music
Ruth N. Halls Theater at the Lee Norvelle Theater & Drama Complex
April 20-24, 2010 at 8 pm