Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair? Me here at last on the ground You in mid air... Where are the clowns?
#105. The familiar Judy Collins‘ chart-busting song “Send in the Clowns” was written by Stephen Sondheim for his 1973 musical premiere. As a pop song, I’ve always thought it was a very sad tune. It was the 70‘s, we all were looking for some big-shoed, red-nosed, escape to break our gloom. Hearing it in context, I now get it! These clowns don’t get pies in their face. These clowns get egg in their face. They love the wrong person. Or they love the right person at the wrong time. The song is ironic about fools in love. And the reprise is perhaps the sweetest love epiphany ever. Writers Theatre presents A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.
Don’t you love farce?
Carl-Magnus loves Desiree but he’s married to Charlotte. Desiree loves Fredrik but he’s married to Anne. Henrik loves Anne but she’s his stepmother. So, why not bring everybody together for a weekend in the country. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC hits all the right chords for falling in love this summer.
Isn't it bliss?
Yes, yes it is! Under the direction of William Brown, this show is a beautiful, lusty romp. In their underwear or exquisite turn-of-the-century garb (costume designer Rachel Anne Healy), this sublime cast delivers droll dialogue and marvelous melodies. Leading the playful shenanigans is the diva herself Shannon Cochran (Desiree). The satire starts with Cochran! She plays a well-known and admired theatrical actress. And that’s what Cochran should be. Her comedic timing is stellar and her singing is stunning. Her “Send In The Clowns” was so much more self-realization amused mockery than buzz-killing, pity party. Cochran keeps the show upbeat and ladies choice. Her exceptional performance is enough reason to buy a ticket to see the musical. But guess what? There are 10 other people that are worth it too.
But where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns. Quick, send in the clowns.
This cast is a fun-loving bunch. The humor is at the forefront of every movement. Among the witty barbs, a few characters stood out in their absurdity. A hilarious Deanna Dunagan (Madame Armfeldt) crackles with lunatic advice to her grand daughter. Brandon Dahlquist (Carl-Magnus) lampoons it up with a riotous over-the-top performance. Tiffany Scott (Charlotte) deadpans zingers about her husband’s absurdities. And this cast doesn’t just crack jokes, they sing. And they sing fantastically. Under the musical supervision of Roberta Duchak and musical direction of Valerie Maze, a mini-orchestra accompanies the ensemble’s harmonious melodies. This capable cast takes Stephen Sondheim song list and makes it magical. Sometimes it’s a frolicking duet like Cochran and Jonathan Weir (Fredrik) in “You should meet my wife.” And sometimes it’s a poignant solo like Brianna Borger (Petra) in “The Miller’s Son.”
What a surprise. Who could foresee I'd come to feel about you What you'd felt about me?
This cast loves me enough to give it their all. And I love them for it. I have a lotta big love for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.
Production photograph courtesy of Michael Brosilow
Running Time: Two hours and forty-five minutes includes an intermission
At Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe
Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by William Brown
Musical supervision by Roberta Duchak
Musical direction by Valerie Maze
Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm
Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm
Sundays at 2pm and 6pm
Thru August 15th
Buy TIckets at www.writerstheatre.org