BWW Reviews: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC Provides a Lot of Entertainment in Kansas City
A Little Night Music, produced by Spinning Tree Theatre, is now playing at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center. Michael Grayman directs an immensely talented cast for the play with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical opened on Broadway in 1973 based on a film by Ingmar Bergman. Andy Parkhurst designed the choreography, which early in Act I is impressive as the performers entangle themselves on stage. This production marks the largest cast utilized by Spinning Tree Theatre.
Infidelity, blossoming love, parenting, and did I mention infidelity is the basis for the Sondheim musical. There is Frederik, his wife, son, and his mistress. The Count and his wife and of course his mistress. The mistress, her daughter, her mother, Frederik and the Count.
Charles Fugate plays Fredrick Egerman, who had an affair with Desiree Armfeldt sometime in the past. His wife of 11 months has withheld sexual favors, until she becomes more accustomed to the idea. Fredrik decides to visit Desiree, in hopes of reigniting the spark that once was there. Fugate who is one of the best male leads in Kansas City is as expected fabulous in his depiction of Fredrik. His fine acting skills are matched with a marvelous voice.
Desiree, portrayed by Melinda MacDonald, is the mistress who is so sought after. MacDonald provides a strong performance that is as grand as her vocals. The solo of "Send in the Clowns" is one of the best songs of the night.
Lauren Braton plays Countess Charlotte Malcolm as the wife of the jealous Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm (who also is visiting Desiree). Having heard Braton several times at the Quality Hill Playhouse I anticipated another fantastic performance and was not disappointed. Her vocals were beautiful and she brought a sarcastic tone to her character that was delightful.
Allison Banks plays Fredrika Armfeldt, Desiree's daughter who has been left to be raised by her grandmother. As she vibrantly delivers lines, sings, and dances, it is hard to believe she is only 14 years of age. If she is any indication of the young talent available in Kansas City, then the future of local theater is in good hands.
The highly talented Vigthor Zophoniasson plays the jealous Count Malcolm. The Count has returned from battle to spend eight hours with Desiree and five hours with his wife (so he can get some sleep). His jealousy rages as he finds Fredrik in his bathrobe in Desiree's apartment. Knowing that Fredrik and his family have been invited to the estate of Desiree's mother, the Count with his wife show up uninvited to confront the two lovers. Zophoniasson has a strong voice that blended superbly with Fugate and the others. His rants at Fredrik and Desiree are convincing, demonstrating his dramatic ability.
Liz Golson portrays Petra the servant for the Egerman family. Golson's whimsical quips at the members of the family and other members of the cast provide the audience with wonderful moments of humor. Petra jumps at the chance to go to the estate, almost as fast as she jumps at the son and a servant at the Armfeldt estate.
Spinning Tree Theatre is closing out the 2013-2014 season with a grand flair that gets the audience looking forward to next year. A Little Night Music continues through May 24. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 816-545-6000 or visit the Spinning Tree Theatre website. Photo by Manon Halliburton courtesy of Spinning Tree Theatre.