Dreary “A Little Night Music” – Broadway, Review

Study this picture:

If that set design looks good to you, evokes romanticism, and draws you in , by all sakes go see the revival of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Walter Kerr Theatre. It is, incidentally, the same set you will be staring at for three long hours.

A transfer from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre Company (Sunday in the Park, La Cage aux Folles). the production is lifeless and dreary, despite a first-rate cast.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is terrific as Desire Armfeldt. The production is lucky to have Angela Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt. And the rest of the cast is fine. I had a little trouble with Aaron Lazar’s Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, stereotyping a part that is already stereotyped, but even that can be overlooked.

What can’t be overlooked is a production that has a horrible production design, music that is slowed-down in tempo to the point of a dirge, and such murky lighting that for long sections of ensemble you watch shapes move about in the near dark. The opening waltz with all characters mingling and intermingling with their partners is murky to the point that you can’t even recognize who is who. Sloppy, dark, and dreary. When we finally arrive in the country for Act II, you are still staring at the same dusty-mirrored drawing room walls. Might as well have stayed in the city.

I adore A Little Night Music. I’ve directed it before, and I’ve appeared in two separate productions. The current Broadway revival is a tremendous letdown, and pales in comparison to other professional (and some amateur!) productions of the show.

See it if you must, but you have been warned. The couple next to me both fell asleep during act I and were gone during act II. I had a hard time staying focused on the long production without anything visual to look at, and I know every line in this show.

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