Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Little Less Night Music Come January

A Little Less Night Music Come January

When word slipped out last week that a Broadway revival of John Guare's The House Of Blue Leaves with Ben Stiller and Edie Falco would be mounted at the Walter Kerr Theatre, it begged the question of when an official closing notice would be posted for the venue's current occupant, A Little Night Music.

Sure, the sophisticated Stephen Sondheim tuner had only been selling tickets through January 9, 2011, anyway. But with the celebrated replacements Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch originally scheduled only through November 7, coupled with the revival's previous plans to close last June 20, I couldn't help but hope the producers could pull a fifth and sixth rabbit out of their stylish hat in terms of its headlining cast.

Instead, the producers announced today a hat trick of another kind. While confirming the show's closure for the second time (and presumably final) time, they simultaneously announced that Peters and Stritch have extended their contracts through the closing date of January 9.

A Little Night Music will have enjoyed a remarkable Rialto run of 425 regular performances, after first wowing the critics across the pond. Trevor Nunn's production captured my heart when I first saw it nearly two years ago in London where his vision worked exceedingly well in the Menier Chocolate Factory's thimble-sized theatre.

Having seen that incarnation and knowing what to expect with Nunn's spare staging, I wasn't at all let down in quite the way many of my colleagues were by the time the show turned up on Broadway. However, I was every bit as genuinely disappointed by Catherine Zeta-Jones's brassy performance as I was genuinely moved by Angela Lansbury. Yet when Peters and Stritch took over as replacements, I couldn't help but believe I had just witnessed the definitive portrayal of Desiree as manifested in "Send In The Clowns."

Was this a perfect revival? Certainly not. But it surely has provided audiences with a wonderfully rare opportunity to hear some of Sondheim's very best music back on the Broadway stage. And you know what? It sure was rich.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 05 October, 2010, Anonymous Timothy Childs said...

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on the casting. Lansbury and Peters = pitch-perfect.


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