A Little Night Music

March 27th, 2001 by Adam

Betsy Cheney

March 16, 2001

PSC Music Theatre Company Presents Sondheim’s A Little Night Music

Hal Prince produced this wry commentary on the absurdities of love

PLYMOUTH — “A Little Night Music,” the 1973 Tony Award-winning adult musical commentary on the absurdities of love (with book by Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) will be performed April 4-7 by the Plymouth State College Music Theatre Company.

“A Little Night Music” is directed by PSC faculty members Kathleen Arecchi, associate professor of voice and director of voice performance studies, with music direction by Dan Perkins, associate professor of voice and director of choral studies.

Craig Zadan (in Sondheim & Co. ) describes the story as a light-hearted comedy about Desiree Armfeldt, “a middle-aged actress who is busily trying to rid herself of one lover (Carl-Magnus, a pompous dragoon) in order to marry another (Fredrik Egerman, a well-respected lawyer.) Both men are already married: Carl-Magnus to his ever-faithful Charlotte, and Fredrik to an eighteen-year-old child bride. To complicate matters, Fredrik’s son, Henrik, a guilt-ridden seminarian, is deeply but secretly in love with his virgin stepmother. Presiding over this madcap group is Madame Armfeldt, Desiree’s mother, who at one time was herself a prominent courtesan.”

In a break from the “conventional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic solutions of many Broadway composers,” Sondheim crafted music in the style of Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Brahms — fughettos, canons, contrapuntal duets, trios, etc., all written in three-quarter time and multiples of that meter. The songs are characterized by memorable Sondheim subtexts of ambivalence and hopeless longing which lyricize the many aspects of love.

Unabashed by technical disasters at the show’s Boston opening, Elliot Norton wrote in the Boston Herald American, “A lovely show, a civilized entertainment, elegant and amusing.” Critic Clive Barnes called the show ” heady, civilized, sophisticated and enchanting… an adult musical.”

Performances at the Silver Cultural Arts Center on Main Street in Plymouth are at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday only, and are not suitable for children. The Friday evening performance will be interpreted for the hearing impaired.

Tickets for the performance are $9 general admission at the PSC box office, (603) 535-ARTS. If special accommodations are needed, please call in advance.