Monday, February 10, 2014

A Little Night Music

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music is perfect. Its romance, cynicism, earnestness, silliness, wry humor, brilliant lyrics, and scrumptious music add up to two and a half hours of sheer pleasure. In telling the story of mismatched lovers at a country chateau, Night Music gently unveils the foolishness of life and love and people, while also saluting all three. It is light as air, but moving and insightful. The first time I saw the original production, in the early 1970s, I thought, "Wow, musicals can do this? Musicals can do this?" (Little did I know the treats that Sondheim and his collaborators had in store.)

Rita Rehn, Richard Rowan
Photo: Bella Muccari
The Gallery Players' production of A Little Night Music is not perfect, but it is largely successful and gets the substance of the show right. Tom Rowan directs with great clarity, and the cast, while uneven, makes intelligible virtually every precious word and lyric (no small feat in this occasionally tongue-twisting score). Rob Langeder and Barrie Kreinik as the Count and Countess are excellent, and Rita Rehn makes a charming Desiree. The scenery and costumes are inexpensive but serviceable; the five-person band, while about dozen people short of ideal, is quite good. And the singers are unmiked! Bravi!

Some laughs are missed; there could be more chemistry between the romantic leads; some notes are wobbly at best. But, by and large, this is a respectable and highly enjoyable production, and at $18/ticket, it's a genuine bargain.

It runs through February 16th only, so move quickly!

(press ticket; fifth row center)

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