The sixth and final production of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Art's Sondheim Celebration begins performances this weekend at the Center's Eisenhower Theatre.
A Little Night Music, which features what is, perhaps, Sondheim's best-known song, "Send in the Clowns," plays its first preview Aug. 2 at 7:30 PM with an official opening on Aug. 3 at 7:30 PM. The press opening is scheduled for Aug. 4 at 2:30 PM, and the musical will play its final performance on Aug. 25 at 7:30 PM.
Tony Award winner Blair Brown heads the star-studded cast as Desiree Armfeldt, and the former star of Broadway's Copenhagen and James Joyce's The Dead will be joined by Douglas Sills (Count Carl Magnus Malcolm), Randy Graff (Countess Charlotte Malcolm), John Dosset (Fredrik Egerman), Sarah Uriarte Berry (Anne Egerman), Danny Gurwin (Henrik Egerman), Barbara Bryne (Madame Armfeldt), Natascia Diaz (Petra), Christopher Flint (Mr. Lindquist), Siobhan Kolker (Mrs. Nordstrom), Ilona Dulaski (Mrs. Anderssen), Peter Cormican (Mr. Erlanson), Anna Bergman (Mrs. Segstrom), Kristen Bell (Fredrika Armfeldt), Erik Sorensen (Frid, the Butler) and Terri Allen (Malla, the Maid).
Directed by Mark Brokaw, the Kennedy Center mounting of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical will play in repertory with Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and Passion. The other three musicals that comprised this summer's Sondheim Celebration are the now-closed Sweeney Todd, Company and Sunday in the Park with George.
A Little Night Music 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 garnered five 1973 Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical. The Sondheim score features "Send in the Clowns," "Every Day a Little Death," "The Miller's Son" and "A Weekend in the Country." Tickets for A Little Night Music at the Eisenhower Theatre range from $29-$79 and can be purchased by calling (800) 444-1324. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located in Washington, D.C., at 2700 F. Street. For more information, go to www.kennedy center.org.
In related news: The Kennedy Center will present "A Concert Spectacular of Musical Highlights Featuring Stars from the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration" at Avery Fisher Hall on Oct. 21 at 8 PM. The all Sondheim evening will include performances from the six musicals presented at the D.C. theatre this summer as well as songs rendered by Mandy Patinkin and Barbara Cook, who both presented their personal Sondheim tributes during the much-in-the news Sondheim Celebration.
Among the actors taking part in the one-night-only event include the aforementioned Cook and Patinkin plus Christine Baranski, John Barrowman, Anastasia Barzee, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Matt Bogart, Blair Brown, Michael Cerveris, Barbara Cook, Natascia Diaz, John Dossett, Melissa Errico, Raúl Esparza, Paul Ford, Randy Graff, Danny Gurwin, Wally Harper, Marcy Harriell, Michael Hayden, Judy Kuhn, Rebecca Luker, Hugh Panaro, Mandy Patinkin, Mark Price, Alice Ripley, Douglas Sills, Emily Skinner and Linda Stephens. The Sondheim Celebration conductors — Nicholas Archer, Rob Berman, Larry Blank, Eric Stern, Jonathan Tunick and Patrick Vaccariello — will also take part in the evening.
Tickets for "A Concert Spectacular" are available at the Avery Fisher Hall box office, which is located at Broadway and 64th Street, or on-line at www.lincolncenter.org. Interested concertgoers can also call CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500.
—By Andrew Gans