Playbill.com has learned that Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch have been approached to succeed Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, respectively, in the roles of the captivating actress Desirée Armfeldt and her worldly-wise mother Madame Armfeldt.
Peters and Stritch are two premiere Sondheim interpreters: Peters created leading roles in Sondheim and Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods and also brought new dimension to the role of stage mother Rose in the Sondheim-Arthur Laurents-Jule Styne classic Gypsy; while Stritch created the role of Joanne in Sondheim's Company, belted out "Broadway Baby" in Follies in Concert and recently completed two engagements at the Cafe Carlyle in Singin' Sondheim…One Song at a Time.
The two theatre artists have never shared a Broadway stage, and their pairing should ignite the box office.
No official announcement about the actresses has been made.
Both acclaimed singing actresses recently spoke with Playbill.com about composer-lyricist Sondheim's 80th birthday: To read the interview with Bernadette Peters, click here; to read the chat with Elaine Stritch, click here. Trevor Nunn directed the hauntingly spare revival of A Little Night Music, which originated at London's Menier Chocolate Factory last year prior to arriving on Broadway Nov. 24, 2009. Night Music officially opened Dec. 13 at the Walter Kerr.
London Night Music cast member Alexander Hanson re-created his performance as Fredrik Egerman for New York audiences alongside Aaron Lazar (Les Misérables) as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Erin Davie (Grey Gardens) as Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Leigh Ann Larkin (Gypsy) as Petra, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Henrik Egerman and Ramona Mallory (The Fantasticks) as Anne Egerman, with Stephen R. Buntrock, Bradley Dean, Marissa McGowan, Katherine McNamara, Betsy Morgan, Jayne Paterson, Kevin David Thomas, Keaton Whittaker, Karen Murphy, Erin Stewart and Kevin Vortmann.
A Little Night Music, according to press notes, "is set in a weekend country house in turn of the century Sweden, bringing together surprising liaisons, long simmering passions and a taste of love's endless possibilities. Hailed as witty and wildly romantic, the story centers on the elegant actress Desirée Armfeldt and the spider's web of sensuality, intrigue and desire that surrounds her."
The creative team includes Lynne Page (choreography), Caroline Humphris (musical supervision), David Farley (set and costume design), Hartley T A Kemp (lighting design), Dan Moses Shreier and Gareth Owen (sound design), Paul Huntley (wig design), Jason Carr (orchestrations) and Tom Murray (musical direction).
A Little Night Music — featuring a score by Sondheim and a book by Wheeler — originally opened at Broadway's Shubert Theatre on Feb. 25, 1973, with a cast that included Glynis Johns as Desiree, Len Cariou as Fredrik and Hermione Gingold as Madame Armfeldt. The show, directed by Harold Prince, garnered five 1973 Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical. The Sondheim score features the composer's best-known tune, "Send in the Clowns," as well as "Every Day a Little Death," "The Miller's Son" and "A Weekend in the Country."
Peters was last on Broadway in the acclaimed revival of Gypsy, for which she received a 2003 Tony Award nomination for her performance as Rose in the Sam Mendes-directed production. She won her two Tonys for her performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance and Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, and she has also starred on Broadway in Mack & Mabel, On the Town, Sunday in the Park with George, The Goodbye Girl and the original production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Peters' newest live recording, "Sondheim, Etc., Etc.—Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It)," is available on the Angel Records label. Masterworks Broadway has also released a "Legends of Broadway" CD celebrating her theatrical career. Peters' screen credits are numerous, and she also recently celebrated the launch of her second children's book, "Stella Is a Star," for Blue Apple Books.
Stritch received Tony and Emmy Awards for Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which traces a stellar career, which includes roles in composer-lyricist Sondheim's Company plus The Little Foxes, Bus Stop, A Delicate Balance, Sail Away and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Night Music revival is produced on Broadway Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, The Menier Chocolate Factory, Roger Berlind, David Babani, Sonia Friedman Productions, Andrew Fell, Daryl Roth/Jane Bergère, Harvey Weinstein/Raise the Roof 3, Beverly Bartner/Dancap Productions, Inc., Nica Burns/Max Weitzenhoffer, Eric Falkenstein/Anna Czekaj, Jerry Frankel/Ronald Frankel, James D. Stern/Douglas L. Meyer.
For more information, visit nightmusiconbroadway.com.