While we were in New York last week, PJ and I saw A Little Night Music, starring Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. We had never seen Peters or Stritch live before; we had also never seen a live performance of a Stephen Sondheim play. We had wanted to see this production last year, when Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury were starring in it. I’m glad we had to wait a year.
One of the things I love most about theater is when you experience a performance that’s truly amazing, one that transports you to someplace new and exciting, one that makes the hairs on your arms stand up. Bernadette Peters delivers such a performance in this show. She was amazing. Here’s a little taste of her version of “Send in the Clowns”:
In case you don’t know, A Little Night Music is about romantic intrigues among a group of Swedish couples around the turn of the twentieth century. Desiree is an aging actress with an illegitimate daughter who lives with Desiree’s mother, an elderly woman who lives with her memories of her own sordid liaisons. Desiree is beginning to feel that it’s time to leave the stage and settle down. She returns to her home town in the hopes that her daughter’s father, who was relatively recently widowed, will pick up where the two of them left off.
He wants to–after seeing her on stage, he wants to resume their previous affair, but he is now married to a much younger woman, putting an end to Desiree’s fantasy of settling down together. Or so it initially appears. Desiree soon learns that her former lover, Fredrik, and his young wife, Anna, have yet to consummate their marriage after six months, giving her hope that she will be able to seduce him away from Anna.