Going to the Old Town Theatre is like visiting an old friend. Great sight lines, nice stage, tiny lobby, and, well, the restrooms are inadequate. Great news, though; Cygnet Theatre is taking over the facility, introducing their audiences to it with the production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Then, they’ll close it down for some serious renovations.
Another old friend is the musical. Sadly, it isn’t performed enough. Happily. director Sean Murray brings us many of the best singers/actors in the greater San Diego area, including himself in the role of Fredrik Egerman, a middle-aged lawyer. Courtney Evans plays his child bride and second wife, Anne Egerman, who, after almost a year of marriage, has refused to have sex with him. Alas, she has eyes for extremely gloomy Henrik (Sean Cox), Fredrik’s son. Not to worry; Fredrik has taken up with former lover Desiree Armfeldt (Marci Anne Wuebben) much to the amusement of her daughter, Fredrika Armfeldt (Nicki Elledge), and to the chagrin of her wheelchair-bound mother, Madame Armfeldt (Sandra Ellis-Troy).
The plot doth boil over as Desiree is seeing the dashing Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm (Randall Dodge). His lovely wife, Countess Charlotte Malcolm (Sandy Campbell), while not happy with that arrangement, does have joyful compensation.
Anne’s servant, Petra (Melissa Fernandes) has a roll in the grass with Frid (Trevor Hollingsworth), Madame Armfeldt’s handsome servant. In spite of, or because, of the peccadilloes of many of the characters A Little Night Music is an absolute delight.
Based on the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it is a classical tale of love, intrigue, and the joy of love and romance. It is Sondheim’s most romantic scores complete with a Greek chorus and elegant waltzes. There are the ladies, Mrs. Nordstrom, Mrs. Segstrom, and Mrs. Anderson (Shelly Hart Breneman, Susan Hammons, and Amy Northcutt) who join in with the principals in song and dance. Also, supporting and adding vocal embellishments are Michael Dooling as Mr. Lindquist and Brian Imoto as Mr. Erlanson. Alas, we see much too little of Kim Strassburger as Malla.
The very sophisticated, literate and stylish A Little Night Music is seldom produced because of the demand that most of the cast be triple threats (Actors, Singers and Dancers). Director Murray cast deftly. This production, which includes James Vasquez’s excellent choreography and Don LeMaster’s fine musical direction, is ready for Broadway. The Designers and production staff all deserve accolades for the show an other bravo for Cygnet is in order.
Shelly Hart Breneman, Sandy Campbell, Sean Cox, Randall Dodge, Michael Dooling, Nicki Elledge, Sandra Ellis-Troy, Courtney Evans, Melissa Fernandes, Susan Hammons, Trevor Hollingsworth, Briam Imoto, Sean Murray, Amy Northcutt, Kim Strassburger, Marci Anne Wuebben
AD/Choreographer James Vasquez, Scenic Design Sean Fanning, Costume Design Jeanne Reith, Lighting Design Matthew Novotny, Sound Design George Ye, Wigs/Hair Designer Peter Herman, Properties Design Bonnie L. Durben, SM Corrine Essary
Author: Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler
Director: Sean Murray, Musical Director Don LeMaster
Running Time: 160 minutes with a 15-minute intermission
Dates: Thursday to Sunday, thru May 4, 2008
Cygnet at the Old Town Theatre
4040 Twiggs St.
San Diego, CA 92110
Box Office Phone: 619 337-1525