A little night music original production information- Page 2

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How odd. They seem to be the exact same costumes--in pale icy blue!

Maybe Flossie said to Hal, "Honey, I got bored with all that white so I put a little blue in. What do you think?" And Hal said, "I like it! Keep it!"

(Or maybe it's just the lighting...)
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"Especially since the entire POINT of Liaisons is the practical, business-like transactions of the carnal affairs of a COURTESAN compared to the romantic follies of a less worldly generation. Where do you people get this junk?"

That actually was part of my analysis. It would not have been inconceivable for a business-minded woman like Madame Armfeldt to use that "tiny Titian" to gain even more from the Duke (i.e. blackmail).

And thank you, givesmevoice, for seeing what the possibility of Desiree being the tiny Titian implies. But I guess it isn't meant for directors and designers, or students, to go into a further analysis of a text and bring their own ideas and visions to the table. Clearly the authors meant for it to be absolutely 100% their own, thus ensuring that all productions are directed, designed, and acted exactly as they want it to be.
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It could also refer to the size of the Duke of Ferrara's appendage and Mme. Armfeldt's affectionate nickname for it.

Especially if the Duke of Ferrara was a ginger, right?

Or...it could simply refer to a painting he gave her as a gift.

But please, let's stop thinking of Mme. Armfeldt's affairs as "business-like." That word suggests shopkeepers and stockbrokers. Mme. Armfeldt's rewards were given, not for "services rendered," but for her delicacy and discretion.
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Yes, a tiny Titian = baby Desiree, and a piece of Mahler's = a yummy pastry in NYC

Jeeez!

All you have to do is read the lyrics to the rest of the song to understand that she's talking about the financial gain she received from her various love affairs.

I acquired a chateau, extravagantly overstaffed
... who, when things got rather touchy, deeded me a duchy ***
I acquired some position, plus a tiny Titian
I had ladies in attendance, fire opal pendants

And, yes, the "tiny Titian" (a huge painting, since all of his paintings, even the smallest of them, would be fairly large) is carried over into the set design of the Act II dinner scene, behind Mme. Armfeldt.

But Mahler's pastries, on the other hand, are really yummy!




*** "...deeded me a duchy." This is the funniest one, because it means that her lover gave her a "small territory ruled by a duke or duchess." He basically gave her a town!





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Updated On: 1/9/10 at 09:38 AM
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I'm loving all these photos, PJ and ljay. Thanks for posting them!
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And, by the way, a courtesan of that era never would have admitted who the father of her child was.

"Where's discretion of the heart, where's passion in the art, where's craft?"

She would have kept it a complete secret for life, even from her own child, and if "things got rather touchy," she could imply delicately to perhaps even more than one of her former lovers that her daughter was doing just fine. I'm sure that would have landed her even more financial support, if a handful of old flames had each assumed they were the father.

But a woman like Mme. Armfeldt would have gone to her grave with that secret.
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Beautiful, morosco.

In addition to everything else, I love the lighting.
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Minus the cattiness, this is a beautiful thread about a beautiful show. Though I do lament that the current production couldn't be as lavish, I also understand why it had to be so. Luckily, we can all recollect on the sheer beauty of the original :)
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The lighting design, of course, was by Tharon Musser, another great theater artist
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Tharon was brilliant! Original productions of ...

Flora the Red Menace
Mame
Applause
Follies
A Little Night Music
The Wiz
A Chorus Line
Pacific Overtures
42nd Street
Dreamgirls
The Secret Garden

Theatre legend!
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Does anyone have any information on Tammy Grimes in the original production? I've not seen any mention of this but have a strong if vague memory that she played Desiree for a brief period. My recollection (again very vague) is that there was a disagreement with Hal Prince and Glynis Johns resulting in Johns leaving the show briefly. This could be wildly off base but that is how I remember it. Anybody . . . ?
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All I know is that Grimes was considered for Desiree, and then when Johns became ill durring previews, was considered as a replacement. Johns recovered and Grimes never went on. I don't think she ever played the role, though I'm not entirely sure.
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Tammy Grimes ran a close second to Glynis Johns in casting but never played the part.

The show got good but not great reviews in Boston, and came to NY for previews, but they were still tinkering.

They cut "Bang!" and replaced it with "In Praise of Women," they cut Frid's song "Silly People," and they fired Garn Stephens, who was playing Petra, because Sondheim felt she couldn't sing "The Miller's Son" well enough. (Poor Garn!)

Glynis Johns was somewhat of a Nervous Nellie, and after a few previews, she was "hospitalized" for an "intestinal virus and nervous exhaustion." But Tammy Grimes didn't play the part--the understudy, one of the Lieder singers, played it.

It was the week before my 17th birthday, and having been such a fan of Company and Follies, I was a nervous wreck about the show, which seriously made my parents and friends at school worry for my sanity.

I saw one of the first previews (with Glynis) and loved it--and her!--and then, a week before my birthday, Earl Wilson's column in the New York Post had an item saying, "Tammy Grimes was in the audience of A Little Night Music amid reports that she might replace hospitalized Glynis Johns if the latter's recovery was slow."

They said they were going to postpone the opening From February 25th to March 4th. I almost had to be hospitalized myself.

Glynis's recovery was instantaneous. (And so was mine.) She returned the next day and they announced that the opening was going back to February 25th.

The fact that this filled me with elation did not make my parents or friends think I was any less crazy. But when you're a Sondheim fan, you learn to stop caring about what other people think.

The show opened to (mostly) rave reviews, and on the 28th, I turned 17 and went back for my 2nd of 6 visits.

Updated On: 1/9/10 at 04:32 PM
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Wow, thanks for filling in the gaps. I knew there was a Tammy Grimes connection somehow. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.
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Here's another of the tiny Titian with the London cast in front of it:

A little night music original production information

The actress on the left with the blue bow round her waist is Maria Aitken, who directed the current production of The 39 Steps. She had a high profile career in the West End during the 1980s playing Cowardian women and was Rupert Everett's mother in The Vortex. Offstage she's the mother of Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean, Talented Mr Ripley).

She was also involved in some embarrassing business when a small quantity of cocaine was found in her luggage at a British airport, and her brother is the former MP Jonathan Aitken who spent several years in prison on (unrelated) purgery charges.

But no poster with the slightest grasp of what is seemly would be so indiscrete as to mention such things.
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A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC was my first musical experience on Broadway shortly after I moved to NYC in the summer of 1974. I bought a single ticket at TKTS. It was a Tuesday night and I was seated in the second row of the Mezzanine. As per the then TKTS policy the ticket was priced at 50% of the face value plus a small service fee, or $15.50. The show had been playing for over a year, had transferred to the Majestic from the Shubert the previous September and yet all the original cast were still in place with the except of Len Cariou. Frederik was now being played by William Daniels. It was a wonderful experience for me. I had owned the LP since it was released and had played it an immeasurable number of times. Whenever I could I followed along with the blue papered lyric book which accompanied the recording. Sitting in the Majestic that Tuesday night was an experience unlike any I had before. It was simply exquisite. A few months later I attended the closing performance on August 3rd. The show was as magical as I remembered it to be. The performers and stagehands weren't without humor. The scene where two motor cars roll on stage found William Daniels as Frederik attempting to crank a car that kept moving away from him. At the end of the performance the audience gave the cast and the show a respect it most deservedly warranted--a true, classic standing ovation. We stood applauding and shouting for 15 solid minutes refusing to allow the cast to leave the stage. The stage was strewn with flowers. Hermione Gingold finally stepped forward to say that the GM was complaining about the electric bill and that everyone must leave the theatre. I have no desire to see the current revival.
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But no poster with the slightest grasp of what is seemly would be so indiscrete as to mention such things.

You're forgiven. As Hamlet said "Seemly, madam? Nay, I know not seemly!" (Or something like that.)

About what precisely did the disgraced former MP Jonathan Aitken perjure himself?
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"Purgery"? Is that what happens after "bingery"?
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/28698051@N08/

Here is the Flickr site with some great pictures of the original production, as well as some other Company and Follies pictures too.
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Wow. What a great collection.

I know this thread is about Night Music, but some of the Follies stuff is thrilling, like the Yvonne De Carlo/John McMartin Pieta scene:

A little night music original production information

And this one that shows how the Michael Bennett/Hal Prince staging intermingled the past and present

A little night music original production information

And this one of Michael Bennett, in his element: dead center in a classic Bennettian pose, while the chorus kids circle around him, while he is standing in for the leading lady:

A little night music original production information
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How come there are some pictures of Hermione Gingold with a cane? Was she mobile in the early previews?

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Pat Birch is quoted in the Zadan book:

We also had to decide how much to allow Hermione to move. ...It's not the kind of show where you suddenly go crazy and some old lady gets up and looks adorable. None of us wanted a case of the cutes. At one point I had Hermione waving a cane around, doing a few jaunty steps, which she adored, but it was disgusting because it nothing to do with the character....It had to do with Pat milking a number.
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This is NOT in the Zadan book and may be apocryphal, but when Ingar Bergman came to see the show for which he was being paid so much money, he marveled at the audacity of Hermione Gingold's performance.

"My, my," the great film auteur said, "but she really does f*ck the audience, doesn't she?"
Updated On: 1/10/10 at 12:12 AM