By Derek Delson and Joyce Ann Lee
Imagine a group of people with their relationship status on Facebook as “it’s complicated,” resolving all their drama in one summer night. Now set it in turn-of-the-20th-century Sweden, add some enchanting music and a Greek chorus, and you have this year’s fall musical: A Little Night Music.
Desiree Armfeldt (Daniella Brancato and Maggie Roach) is an aging actress who sees Frederik Egerman (Victor Polizu), an old flame of hers, at a performance. She tries to win him back by throwing a gathering at her mother’s (Haylie Lempert) weekend house. Unfortunately, Frederik is already married to Anne (Fiona Lyngstad-Hughes), and Desiree’s lover, Carl-Magnus Malcolm (Eli Goodwin), alongside his wife Charlotte (Dani Drucker), finds out about the plan. Much goes wrong, and the various love triangles in the show are resolved, for better or for worse. Dr. Janine Robinson, the vocal director of A Little Night Music, said the show is about “love triangles and how people may start out with the wrong partner. It’s about all of the love entanglements that ensue.”
The brainchild of musical visionary Stephen Sondheim and writer Hugh Wheeler (Sweeney Todd), A Little Night Music premiered on Broadway in 1973. The critically acclaimed play was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical. A Little Night Music later ran as a revival in 2009 with actress Catherine Zeta-Jones as Desiree. Its most popular song, “Send In The Clowns,” has remained iconic for decades.
A Little Night Music is different from anything the school has put on before. “A Little Night Music is ‘next-level’ Sondheim, and rarely, if ever, done at the high-school level,” said Dr. Robinson. The show is more difficult and mature than Theatre South’s previous ventures, vocally and material-wise, and is often performed by professional opera companies.
Comparing A Little Night Music to last year’s musical, Mr. Tommy Marr, director of the show, said, “If The Sound Of Music is like your comfort food, like getting pizza on a Friday night while you’re watching Hulu or Netflix, this is like going out on your anniversary or birthday for a nice steak dinner.”
The musical is a group effort of the cast, crew, and South’s own orchestra, an event packed with school talent. “[We] have such high-quality productions where the students are so dedicated to what they’re doing,” as Mr. Marr said. A Little Night Music will take place November 16 and 17 at 7:30 in the auditorium. “Come see it because it’s going to be entertaining,” Mr. Marr said. “Come see it because it’s going to be something different that you might not have seen before, and come see the students’ hard work represented in a very obvious and tangible form on the stage.”