Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company

A Fitting Tribute and a Fond Farewell

By: Aug. 14, 2022
Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company

At the start of the 2022 season, which had been announced as Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Julianne Boyd's finale one at the helm of Barrington Stage Company, the Award Winning Theatre in Downtown Pittsfiled, I had the chance to sit down and speak with her about her experiences developing the company that in it's 27 years has become one of, if not the pre-eminent regional theatre organizations in an area fortunate to have many: "So, what's your thing with Sondheim", I asked. Boyd replied, simply: "Well, it's Sondheim".

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company
Sabina Collazo and Noah Wolfe
Photo by Daniel Rader

Those reading this piece no doubt, are aware that the undisputed maestro of American Musical Theatre was educated at nearby Williams College. Sondheim. who left us during the past year, is considered "one of the most important figures in twentieth-century musical theatre". His works are widely credited with having "reinvented the American musical". While not listed among the brilliant composer's "best"; which include - West Side Story, Gypsy, Company, Sweeny Todd, and Into The Woods, all but one of which have been presented at BSC in recent years. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC serves as both a fitting tribute as well as an appropriate and fond farewell, and parting gift as Boyd transitions out of her role at the helm.

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company
Jason Danieley and Emily Skinner
Photo by Daniel Rader

In A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC a tangle of love affairs leads to a magical weekend in the country where confusion rules, jealousies flair and sexual passions reign. Sondheim's 1973 masterpiece A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, originally produced and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince, won six 1973 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Suggested by the film Smiles of a Summer Night by Ingmar Bergman, Sondheim's lustrous score is written in variations of three-quarter time and features one of the songwriter's most beloved and well-known songs, "Send in the Clowns."

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC features Tony Award nominee Emily Skinner as Desiree Armfeldt, Jason Danieley as Fredrick Egerman, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Peil as Madame Armfeldt, Sierra Boggess as Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Cooper Grodin as Count Carl Magnus, Sabina Collazo as Anne Egerman, Noah Wolfe as Henrik Egerman, Sophie Mings as Petra, Kate Day Magocsi as Fredrika, Adam Richardson as Mr. Lindquist, Rebecca Pitcher as Mrs. Nordstrom, Stephanie Bacastow as Mrs. Anderssen, Andrew Marks Maughan as Mr. Erlanson, Leslie Jackson as Mrs. Segstrom, and Slater Ashenhurst as Frid. Each member of the relatively large and distinguished cast delivers a masterful performance. The collective vocal presentations are both superb and sublime.

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company
Andrew Marks Maughan, Stephanie Bacastow, Sierra Boggess,
Adam Richardson, Cooper Grodin and Rebecca Pitcher
Photo by Daniel Rader

As is often the case with Sondheim works, the first act spends a good deal of time introducing and developing the numerous characters and their intertwining. Musical numbers are often deeply layered, with rich harmonies, a Sondheim signature element / technique used to a deeper extent, and perhaps most adeptly in this score. Things really become interesting as the curtain falls on act 1 leaving us eager to see what reality and the second act, where the connection to the characters, their inner selves and their truth deepens, will bring. Along the way, a sense of watching a masterpiece the likes of Shakespeare unfolds and takes hold. Highpoints in the performance include: "Everyday a Little Death" by Sierra Boggess and Sabina Collazo; "A Weekend in the Country by the entire company; and The Miller's Son by Sophie Mings. Emily Skinner's powerful, unique, and hauntingly beautiful presentation of "Send in the Clowns" is a show stopper, and it alone, is well worth the price of admission.

The production is choreographed by Robert La Fosse, musically directed by Darren R. Cohen and directed by Julianne Boyd. The creative team includes Yoon Bae (scenic designer), Sara Jean Tosetti (costume designer), Mary Schilling-Martin (wig designer), David Lander (lighting designer), Leon Rothenberg (sound designer). David D'Agostino (production stage manager). Casting Pat McCorkle, CSA; Rebecca Weiss.

There are a few technical glitches that presented themselves to a keen eye, but virtually something for everyone to like. Overall, BSC's production of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC represents another triumph for both Barrington Stage and the woman who has steered the company's successful course for the past 27 years.

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company
Sabina Collazo and Noah Wolfe
Photo by Daniel Rader

As a large crowd of enthusiastic and grateful supporters gathered around Boyd, I touched her shoulder and congratulated her on yet another "delightful and lovely" success. Adjectives that might be particularly well suited to describe a Gershwin composition, but appropriate none the less. I wholeheartedly encourage theatre goers near and far to come for "A Weekend in the Country" and see A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Barrington Stage Company's Boyd-Quinson Stage where performances continue through August 28.




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