BWW Reviews: IRT's A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
IRT, Indianapolis, brings an atypical performance (for them) to its stage through February 17. Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" is a delightful romp for the well-seasoned performers and audience alike.
Sondheim, composer and lyricist, whose works also include "Sweeney Todd", "Follies" and "Gypsy," is considered one of the greatest in musical theater.
The Academy and Tony award winner also garnered a Top 40 hit from "A Little Night Music" ~ "Send in the Clowns" ~ recorded by Judy Collins and performed by Sylvia McNair at IRT. The two-time Grammy Award winner plays the role of Desiree Armfeldt, the aging star of stage, with a vulnerable undertone and a delightful flirty and charming flair making it easy to see why men fell all over themselves for her. Desiree comes to terms with her life, disappointments and dreams, reaching the point of knowing what she wants.
And what she wants is Fredrik Egerman, portrayed perfectly by James Rank. Egerman, in the throes of a mid-life crisis, rushes into a unconsummated marriage with 18 year old Anne, a child both emotionally and literally. Rank establishes clearly he is unsatisfied with his life and wife, in "Now" which highlights his vocal ability, and reminisces about his lost love, Desiree.
Desiree and Egerman meet up for a late night rendezvous after her performance while on tour in his town. "Send in the Clowns" is popular for obvious reasons and McNair's version is heartrendingly wonderful.
Marrying "the old man" for his financial attributes, teenager Anne is actually in love with Egerman's son, Henrik. The 19 year old is given the right touch by Nicholas Fitzer as the uptight seminary pupil intent on being worthy of his future title. Anne's vain character is realized passionately by Grace Morgan's ability to portray a self-centered girl who is in a mismatched relationship. Her 11-month stand off in performing "wifely duties" is suited well for the Swedish 1900 era and setting of this story.
The story continues with a fun Greek Chorus-like group of singers and dancers, a weekend at the country estate of at Desiree's mother, Madame Armfeldt, played by Fontaine Syer and Desiree's daughter, Fredrika, played by Maggie Williams. The two love Desiree, understand her and wait patiently for her to come around to maturity.
The play centers around Desiree's lifestyle choices and her true dreams in a farcical manner which keeps the pace moving along and the audience enjoying this tale of love in all its forms.
Bottom Line: IRT scores another hit with its "A Little Night Music."
Images by Zach Rosing
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com and catch her as Indy's Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, an in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.