A Little Night Music Redux

ElizabethCurrie
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A Little Night Music Redux#1
Posted: 7/14/10 at 2:41pm
Having seen the original production staged by Hal Prince but not having seen Ms. Zeta-Jones or Ms. Lansbury in the current revival, I went in with an open mind and was very much looking forward to it. I have always loved this show, in fact, it may be my favorite after Sweeney Todd when it comes to the Sondheim canon.

Well, for starters, I'd forgotten about the mezzanine at the Kerr, my right knee should be back to normal in a day or two. I swear those seats were designed for toddlers. That being said, I hated virtually every aspect of this production, from the concept to the design to the direction and the cast, with one exception. Also, it would be hard to know where the show was set considering every actor was using a different accent of some sort. Some should have stuck to standard American speech, regardless of what dialect they were attempting and failing at miserably.

I bolted at the intermission, I couldn't bare the thought of sitting through Act II, I'd endured enough, as had my right knee. I might add, I was not a solo "bolter" and the comments I overheard were essentially what I was feeling.

Now we all love Elaine Stritch, however, she looked petrified, like she'd never set foot on a stage in her life. She was being fed lines from the wings, got totally lost during Liaisons, the conductor had to "help" her, and that's being kind. So, she couldn't do her usual "Stritch schick" due her lack of command of the role. Her repeatedly crossing her legs while in a wheelchair was amusing, at one point I thought she was going to say "screw it" and get up and walk. Praise Jesus!!!! I may be naive, but I don't think people pay $140.00 per ticket to see such unpreparedness.

By now the shows rhythm was painfully out of sync, in fact, I venture to say molasses on a bitter cold January night could move faster. Bernadette Peters is well cast, she looks terrific and will probably grow in the role, assuming the show continues to run, which I seriously doubt. I'll have to catch her version of Send in the Clowns on YouTube.

I believe Mr. Nunn's intention was to recreate Bergman's film, which makes it very dark, as if it were in black and white, that is. There is virtually no color used on the stage, other than Ms. Peters hair, yes, she has her signature boopty-doopty red do, maybe there is some color in Act II, but I'll never know, somehow, I doubt it and I donít care. Why these British directors think they can "improve" on vintage Sondheim is beyond me and I for one am sick of it!

The whole chamber music approach in lieu of a full orchestra just plain pissed me off, not nearly as much as actors playing the instruments, mind you. The original lush orchestrations and the opulence of the show are/were the glories of this piece, if you remove those elements from the equation, you may as well just stage this as a play and call it a day! This show does have one of the better books of a musical, but it is A MUSICAL, not a play with music, which is what this production has been reduced to. To sum up, I would have to call this A Little Night Torture, what a rollicking-frollicking BORE!
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A Little Night Music Redux#2
Posted: 7/14/10 at 2:54pm
Ok, cranky. There's already a thread for reviews. And why post a review of a production if you left at intermission??
DAME
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A Little Night Music Redux#2
Posted: 7/14/10 at 3:13pm
Aunt Clara paid her money and that was her experience. And I am glad she started another thread. Why the hell not?
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A Little Night Music Redux#3
Posted: 7/14/10 at 3:38pm
I'm not by any means saying this because I happened to really enjoy my experience last night. Truly. But you didn't even sit through the whole show. And if your enjoyment of the piece itself rested so strongly on the original full orchestrations, you really aren't a very big fan of the show to begin with. Also, the orchestrations may not be lush, but nothing has been cut and the singing is far from poor, so I cannot for the life of me imagine how you thought the production has been reduced to a play with music.
DAME
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A Little Night Music Redux#4
Posted: 7/14/10 at 3:42pm
Not for anything.. but who are you to tell anyone else how they should measure their experience? And many people.. many, many people.. feel the same way Aunt Clara felt about the show.
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A Little Night Music Redux#5
Posted: 7/14/10 at 3:50pm
I'm not saying they aren't allowed to feel that way. But they left at intermission. If you haven't seen the full show, I don't think it's fair to assess the production. They have every right to do so, obviously, but it's my personal opinion that it isn't fair. That's all.
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A Little Night Music Redux#6
Posted: 7/14/10 at 3:53pm
It's cool to see someone write honestly about THEIR theater experience without having to cow down and be bullied by those on here who feel that if you don't jump on their little bandwagon that you're wrong.

Thank you Aunt Clara for your honesty, that was your experience and your opinion and you backed it up unlike others who come on here and proclaim, "It sucked" and just leave it at that.
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A Little Night Music Redux#7
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:02pm
I certainly think its fair to leave at intermission - I've done it many a time. I do think its too bad Clara didn't stick around for the second act because even the dissenters on this revival seem to mostly be in agreement that the second act is stronger than the first - and with its short running time, I can't imagine leaving without getting to hear Peters do "Send in the Clowns," but if she'd seen all she needed to see then that's her perrogative. If the issue was her knee - it sounds like she could have moved to another seat. The problem isn't the chairs - people just need to stop growing and/or eating.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
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A Little Night Music Redux#8
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:09pm
I'm 5'8 and of proportionate weight and sitting in the Kerr mezz was a rather unpleasant experience for me, physically.
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A Little Night Music Redux#9
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:15pm
I'm 5'11". That's all. A Little Night Music Redux
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A Little Night Music Redux#10
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:26pm
245 pounds is hardly proportionate weight Phyllis. Maybe in a Costco food court but in Walter Kerr? I think not.
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A Little Night Music Redux#11
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:39pm
I can't imagine leaving without getting to hear Peters do "Send in the Clowns," but if she'd seen all she needed to see then that's her prerogative.

Nor can I, MichaelBennett

Aunt Clara--I too saw the original, multiple times as a matter of fact. I cannot believe that anyone who loves this show would leave without hearing Bernadette Peters sing "Send in the Clowns."

Lord knows I am no fan of this production, but you'll have to pardon me: THIS THREAD SMELLS FISHY.
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A Little Night Music Redux#12
Posted: 7/14/10 at 4:55pm
I'm 6'1 and I had no problems. I dunno. I saw it with the OBC and I enjoyed it not because of lavish orchestrations and glitter, but because it was the words of a great poet whose work shaped my life artistically and, to a lesser but still substantial level, spiritually. I didn't think all of the performances were amazing, although Lans was a revelation and I'm so glad I got to see such a great talent perform. I just loved hearing all of the words I knew so well as they were exfoliated. I love all of the layers of his work, and seeing his characters and insights into our world.

I, despite my problems with Nunn's previous work and some of his choices for this production, admired that he took an idea and went with it. I really liked most of what he did. It's apples and oranges for me; I don't mind minimalism. I'd rather see the original, but I can't imagine walking out of a Sondheim show. I guess that's Aunt Clara's prerogative and I encourage people to speak their opinions on shows. I think that theatre is meant to be discussed among people who actively process and think about it, which Clara did and raised valid points about. I guess I'm sort of upset that those problems disabled you from enjoying it like I had.
"There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when we depart this world of ours: children and art." -Sunday In The Park With George
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A Little Night Music Redux#13
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:01pm
^ Aren't you in High School? How the hell did you see the OBC?
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A Little Night Music Redux#14
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:04pm
I think that, to him, "OBC" means CZJ.
DAME
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A Little Night Music Redux#15
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:05pm
I am in P Town and I think I just saw you. Could it be?
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Updated On: 7/15/10 at 05:05 PM
bryan2
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A Little Night Music Redux#16
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:07pm
come on now we all know the seats in the first row of the mezz and balcony are so close to the rail that it is very uncomfortable for anyone of normal size...never mind long legged people....
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A Little Night Music Redux#17
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:10pm
The other board - while noting Stritch's problems - is full of rave reviews, especially for Bernadette.
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A Little Night Music Redux#18
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:14pm
MB, I will have you know that A) I was a svelte 243 at the time.

And B) the Costco food court is too classy for me, ever since they stopped the BYOB. A Little Night Music Redux
Updated On: 7/14/10 at 05:14 PM
wonkit
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A Little Night Music Redux#19
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:24pm
Isn't the moral of this thread that you should not go to what is essentially a first preview and expect an extraordinary night in the theater? Especially if you know that the production/orchestrations/whatever are not going to be to your taste?
DAME
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A Little Night Music Redux#20
Posted: 7/14/10 at 5:53pm
Phyllis.. they still have it in the one in Burbank.
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A Little Night Music Redux#21
Posted: 7/14/10 at 6:02pm
"And if your enjoyment of the piece itself rested so strongly on the original full orchestrations, you really aren't a very big fan of the show to begin with."

Colorthehours, at this risk of sounding rude, this statement is just pretty ridiculous. Aunt Clara obviously was a big fan of the original, and one of the things that added to that experience was a full, lush orchestra. The directors of these more "intricate" productions are forgetting that the orchestra is another character and another voice in the show.

The original composers/orchestrators had a certain amount of musicians for a reason. Michael Starobin decided to score Sunday for 11 musicians in Sunday in the Park with George because Seurat used 11 different colors in his painting. Could you imagine walking into Sweeney Todd when it first opened and instead of hearing that freakish whistle, you heard a little kazoo. Instead of the organ, and huge string and brass sections that gives that show so much more life and power, you heard a single toy piano and a violin.

I too was extremely disappointed with this revival of Night Music. Not only did I despise the production, but the 8 person "orchestra" sounded, well, completely lacking. I missed the french horns at the end of weekend in the country, the pompousness of the brass in "In praise of women," the playfulness of the strings in "You must meet my wife," etc... Without this, you lose so much .

Based upon your argument, I (as well as Aunt Clara and others) therefore don't like the show because we only like the lush, original orchestrations?? I happen to love this show, and when you take away a large component of it, it loses something. Every show I've seen in recent years that used a reduced orchestra has always been a disappointment for me. Unfortunately, most have been Sondheim revivals.

Think of the excitement you feel and the thrill you get when you hear the full orchestra play the overture to South Pacific. I know that that greatly enhanced my experience at that show.

*steps off soapbox*
-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
Updated On: 7/14/10 at 06:02 PM
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A Little Night Music Redux#22
Posted: 7/14/10 at 6:06pm
Haha, yes, I'm in HS and I foolishly referred to the opening cast of this production as the OBC. Not to say I haven't read and dreamt of the actual OBC :). Thanks, Pal :)
"There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when we depart this world of ours: children and art." -Sunday In The Park With George
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A Little Night Music Redux#23
Posted: 7/14/10 at 6:09pm
The only reason anyone goes to a first preview is to rush home to tell everyone how awful it is. I'm glad you got your moneys worth, Clara!
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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A Little Night Music Redux#24
Posted: 7/14/10 at 6:15pm
To be honest, it's not as if Nunn sat down and decided, you know what, this score could be so much better with just an 8person orchestra. We all know this show comes from the Menier Chocolate Factory and we know the restrictions this brings, but instead of seeing restrictions, Nunn worked around it and created a production that was cohesive with the venue it was create for. To then change this production in anyway just because you move to a bigger house would be tampering with the original concept, so i say good on Nunn for sticking to his guns and having faith in his orignal concpet.

People have loved it, people have hated it, but if you love a show so much because of its original proudction/original cast/original orchesterations, you're setting yourself up to disliking any new production.
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