"Isn't It Bliss?" Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch Open in Night Music Revival Aug. 1

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01 Aug 2010

Stritch and Peters take a first-night bow
Stritch and Peters take a first-night bow
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony-winning theatre favorites Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch celebrate their opening in the acclaimed, Tony-nominated revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music Aug. 1 at 3 PM at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Tony winners Peters and Stritch succeeded Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, respectively, in the roles of actress Desirée Armfeldt and her worldly-wise mother Madame Armfeldt, July 13.

June 20 marked the conclusion of Zeta-Jones and Lansbury's contracts; Zeta-Jones won a 2010 Tony Award for her performance, and five-time Tony winner Lansbury was Tony-nominated. The show temporarily closed to allow the new leads rehearsal time.

Critics were invited back to the production the weekend of July 31. The cast will celebrate its new stars with a post-performance party Aug. 1.

Peters and Stritch are two major 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.



Playbill.com recently spoke with both Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch about their return to Broadway.

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, who re-created his performance as Fredrik Egerman for New York audiences, continues with the Broadway production with the permission of Actors' Equity.

The cast also features 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, Sara Jean Ford, Katherine McNamara, Betsy Morgan, Jayne Paterson, Kevin David Thomas, Keaton Whittaker, Karen Murphy, Erin Stewart and Kevin Vortmann.

The new performance schedule follows: Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.

A Little Night Music, according to the producers, "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 Rob Bowman (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.