Highly Recommended **** I admit it! I am a lover of the works ( and words) of Stephen Sondheim! Although I know that in every one of his musicals, I will hear a hint of another, I adore his cleverness with words and his creativity is using his music and/or words to tell a story. I am a “Sondheim-holic”. I never miss one of his shows, no matter which local company produces it. In fact, when I heard that BoHo Theatre Company was bringing to their stage, “A Little Night Music”, I immediately got out my calendar to make sure that I did not miss this one ( one of my very favorites).
“A Little Night Music”, suggested by an Ingmar Bergman film, “Smiles of a Summer Night”, has a book by Hugh Wheeler and the music and lyrics are , of course, Stephen Sondheim at his best! It is a difficult story to explain, but deals heavily on the characters and their relationships. It explores the life of Fredrik Egerman, ( well- played by Peter Robel) , a lawyer, and his old flame, actress Desiree Armfeldt ( a delightful performance by Kelli Harrington) ,and all those people who are part of their lives. Desiree is involved with a married Count, Carl-Magnius Magnum ( deftly handled by Christopher Davis), who is married to Charlotte ( played to perfection by Stephanie Stocksill) and whose childhood best friend is the current wife of attorney Egerman , Anne ( sharply played by the adorable Rachel Guth). Want more?
Egerman has a son, Henrik (a solid interpretation by Jordan Dell Harris) who is studying for the Ministry, but in reality is in love with his father’s new wife, Anne. Desiree has a daughter, Fredrika ( the lovely Isabelle Roberts) and if you read between the lines, you can see where this is heading. The Armfeldt matriarch, Desiree’s mother and grandmother of Fredirica is played with just the right touch by Marguerite Mariama, and just to complicate matters more, for young Henrik, his step-mothers maiden, Petra (Teressa LaGamba takes this role to new heights). But the feature that stands out the most is the ensemble/chorus that is around as chorus, set changers , as well as incidental characters and will amaze and astound you with their wonderful voices and range ( it does take range to do Sondheim properly):Nicole Besa, Lazaro Estrada, Rachel Klippel, Ross Matsuda and the captivating Emily Goldberg ( do not stare at her eyes or you might fall into a hypnotic spell). They are powerful from the very start ( they do the “Night Waltz” to perfection).
The musicians in this powerful production under the leadership of Tom Vendafreddo ( at the keyboards) are: Mike Matlock (woodwinds), Sarah Kim (violin) and Magdalena Sustere (cello). They truly understand the score as Sondheim created it. The overall production is wonderful and filled with charm due to the direction of Linda Fortunato, who understands that this is meant to be a chamber musical, filled with intimacy, charm, love and emotion. The musical numbers are all part of the story-telling with a few memorable songs that have been taken on by performers. Most notably “Send In The Clowns”, “A weekend in The Country”, “You Must Meet My Wife”, “The Miller’s Son” and one of my favorites, “It Would Have Been Wonderful”.
On the tech side, the small, fairly open stage is designed so that we can view everything (Evan Frank), the costumes (Chritina Leinicke) very period, lighting (G. “Max” Maxin IV) and sound ( Anthony Churchill) made it possible for us to view and hear it all. By the way, no microphones and yet, even with the musicians on the stage, the audience never missed anything. The props by Mealah Heidenreich were sheer perfection. This is a show that is 2 1/2 hours in total time with a 15 minute intermission. It never felt long and the action never slowed down. This is one that you will want to see. Especially if you love Sondheim!
“A Little Night Music” will continue at The Greenhouse Theater Center, main floor stage, located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, thru July 8th with performances as follows:
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $35 each, open seating, and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 773-404-7336 or online at www.BoHoTheatre.com. You can also call 773-975-8150
Parking is somewhat limited in the area, mostly metered and zoned, but there are some spaces in the old Children’s Hospital garage just up the street
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “A Little Night Music”