The well-known musical, “A Little Evening Music,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and e book by Hugh Wheeler, opened at 7:30 p.m. within the Tryon Pageant Theatre on Oct. 25. It was later carried out on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.
As is well-known, this Sondheim musical was based mostly on a well-known film by Ingmar Bergman, “Smiles of a Summer season Evening,” a lightweight comedy about romantic imbroglios in the course of the midsummer vacation in Sweden. A part of the celebrity of “Smiles” was how completely different it was from the very critical tone of most of Bergman’s movies.
Viewing the Lyric Theatre @ Illinois model of “A Little Evening Music” on Oct. 25 was an odd expertise for me. I do know that the quantity “Ship within the Clowns” was the massive hit of the present, however I used to be not ready for the big affect that Emma Mize as Desirée Armfeldt achieved when she sang that quantity, late within the present. Instantly, the musical stage of the present rose from the excellent stage to the magnificent! I used to be overwhelmed, and judging from the viewers’s ovation, I used to be not alone.
I understand that evaluating the nice with the less-than-great will be unfair, and one can hardly remorse that Sondheim wrote such a beautiful quantity, even when it towers over its environment within the present.
One of many excellent performances of the evening was Daybreak Harris’ portrayal of the aged Madame Armfeldt, a personage who represents the social peak of the characters within the play. Harris delivered memorably the quantity “Liasons,” during which she, from her Olympian perspective, seemed down on the somewhat foolish goings on within the tawdry amorous affairs of the youthful individuals about her.
And I did discover the dilemma of middle-aged Frederik Egerman, energetically performed by Eldon Warner, a trifle light-weight. He has married an 18-year-old woman, Anne, who was performed with interesting naiveté by Lauren Zimmerman. Eleven months have handed, and the wedding has not been consummated. This serio-comic state of affairs turns into close to farce when Frederik turns for reduction to an previous flame, the getting older actress Desirée Armfeldt, and Frederik runs into battle with Desirée’s lover, Carl-Magnus, performed with bellicose bravado by Salvatore Castronovo.
Whereas Frederik and Desirée clear up one romantic dilemma, Frederik’s younger son, Henrik, performed with the seriousness appropriate for a Lutheran seminarian by Liam Flynn, runs away along with his father’s younger spouse, Anne, who’s technically Hendrik’s stepmother. These considerably intricate comedian actions have been nicely directed by Daybreak Harris.
Charlotte, Carl-Magnus’ affected person however resourceful spouse, was well-played by Paige Calvert. Petra, the servant woman, was given a powerful efficiency by Kathryn King, and her rendition of “The Miller’s Son” obtained very heat applause. The position of Fredrika Armfeldt, the teenage daughter of Frederik Egerman and Desirée Armfeldt, was performed with quiet assurance by Catheryn Kuhar.
One of many higher points of this manufacturing was the massive manufacturing numbers, resembling the primary act finale, “A Weekend within the Nation.” These numbers in addition to the various waltzes have been nicely choreographed by Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Alex Tecza. The scenic design by Minghan Ma featured “three giant partitions with dance-like/natural curves” which have been supposed to distinction our inside selves with our social selves. The partitions have been introduced on and eliminated with finesse.
I used to be puzzled by the actions of 5 singers, arrayed in fantasy costumes, who have been stated to behave as a “Greek Refrain.” In contrast to for the opposite characters, there have been virtually no supertitles for his or her singing. These roles have been sung by Caitlin Towell, Maya Cornejo, Alejandra Sandoval, Martin Pizarro and Nathan Tilton.
An inventory of the musical numbers and a synopsis of the motion might need made points of this manufacturing clearer. I later realized that the character of Madame Armfeldt was alleged to cross away “unnoticed” on the closing curtain. If that was indicated on this manufacturing, I missed it within the in any other case grand finale.
John Frayne hosts “Classics of the Phonograh” on Saturdays at WILL-FM and, in retirement, teaches on the UI. His electronic mail is [email protected]