New York City Opera revives its staging of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music March 7-29, in repertory, at the State Theatre at Lincoln Center, with starry leads not known for their singing.But, then, part of the charm of this 1973 Tony Award winner is that it's a literate, rarefied score that can be spoke-sung and still have impact; original star Glynis Johns was not a rangy singer, and she snagged the Tony Award for playing Desiree.
NYCO announced Jeremy Irons will play Fredrik, Juliet Stevenson is Desiree, Claire Bloom is Madame Armfeldt, Kate Burton is Charlotte, and Jessica Boevers, Daniel Gurwin and Marc Kudisch, who are known for musicals, play Petra, Henrik and Carl Magnus, respectively. Anna Kendrick, Tony-nommed in 1998 for playing the little sister in High Society, is Fredrika
Paul Gemignani will conduct. Designers are Michael Anania (scenic), Lindsay W. Davis (costumes) and Kenneth Posner (lighting).
Irons is the British actor who appeared in the films, "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Reversal of Fortune," and Broadway's The Real Thing; Stevenson appeared in such films as "Truly Madly Deeply," "Emma" and the current "Nicholas Nickleby"; Bloom is the stage and film actress who picked up a Tony nomination as Clytemnestra in Broadway's most recent Electra (and starred with Irons in TV's "Brideshead Revisited"); Burton is the Tony Award-nominated actress of the recent Hedda Gabler and The Elephant Man, as well as The Public Theater's Boston Marriage; Gurwin appeared in Broadway's The Full Monty; Boevers created the role of Ado Annie for the current Broadway Oklahoma!; and Kudisch was Tony nommed for playing starchy boss Trevor in Thoroughly Modern Millie. The role of Frid, Madame Armfeldt's randy butler, will be played by Quentin Marc. The choice soprano role of Anne, the virgin married to middle-aged Henrik, has not yet been cast. That Greek chorus of five (purposefully underlining the sexual tension — note there's a fifth wheel here) is made up of Stephanie Woodling, Kathryn Friest, Anna Christy, Michael Chioldi, and James Schaffner.
The libretto of the 1973 musical is by Hugh Wheeler. Harold Prince was the original director. Produced by the respected New York City Opera, A Little Night Music has less vocal excesses than Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, though the roles of Anne, Henrik, Carl Magnus and the waltzing chorus in the Swedish-set musical show off what audiences would consider a sound worthy of operetta. The composer has said the show is written in European style, with nods to light opera; the score is in variations of three-quarter time.
A Little Night Music won 1973 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Actress, Best Featured Actress (Patricia Elliott); Best Book and Best Costumes (Florence Klotz). Bob Fosse won the Best Director Tony that year for Pippin. There has been talk of a Broadway revival of Night Music over the past several years, with Glenn Close's name bandied about for Desiree, but nothing has transpired.