By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant
In 1900 Sweden Madame Armfeldt (Lynne Franks), confined to a wheelchair, reflects on her life, especially those memories of past relationships. Her granddaughter, Fredrika Armfeldt (Alyssa Greenaway) lives with her, because Fredrika’s mother, Desiree Armfeldt (Jill Jeffrey), an actor – now relegated to mediocre touring company productions, reneged the responsibility of caring for her. Desiree is involved with a married man, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm (Michael Kirk) and the Count’s wife Countess Charlotte Malcolm (Colleen Hammond) knows it.
Desiree’s old lover Fredrik Egerman (Jeff Way) brings his eighteen-year-old wife Anne Egerman (Carissa Warren) to see her perform. Anne is still a virgin after 11 months of marriage. Fredrik’s son, Henrik Egerman (Garrett Hoffman) wants to emulate Martin Luther while at the same time attempts to entice Petra (Emily Yuretich), Anne’s sexually experienced maid. Anne and Henrik are in love with each other but they don’t know it yet.
After Fredrik attends Desiree’s theatrical productions and they renew their relationship, all the characters are invited to Madame Armfeldt’s estate for a weekend.
A Swedish soap opera unfolds. Some lose at love, others win!! Madame Armfeldt wins in a different way, through her memories of former loves.
Jeffrey is fantastic. She pulls off being both serious and humorous. Her facial expressions, hand gestures, and movement often tell the story without her saying a word. Jeffrey handles “Send in the Clowns” poignantly.
Franks transitions exquisitely between reflecting on the past and living in the present. She segues smoothly from dreamy and reserved to sharp and acerbic.
Hammond’s deadpan delivery is spot on!
Way excels as the frustrated husband.
Hoffman easily transitions from a young man intent on entering the seminary to an agitated male attempting suicide.
Wonderful performances from Warren, Yuretich, Kirk and Greenaway.
Director and Set Designer John E. Lane, Jr.’s vision of “A Little Night Music” is that “it is an elegant show trying to maintain elegance but still remain funny. Underlying that is a deep truth about love and loss.”
Note: The Liebeslieder (Love Songs in German) Singers are an integral part of this production. First introduced at the beginning of the play they waltz in and sing at various times, specifically to provide commentary on what the audience sees and hears.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler.
“A Little Night Music” is a production of Duquesne University. It runs from April 4 – 14, 2019 at the Genesius Theater, 1225 Seitz Street, Pittsburgh PA. For more information, click here.