Started by KathyB, Sep 09, 2023, 07:48 PM

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The Denver Center Theatre Company
A Little Night Music
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
September 10, 2023

It was probably not a good idea to schedule seeing this at the same time as the Broncos' home opener. There were a bunch of crazed Bronco fans on the light rail going, and then the light rail got interrupted on the way home, I'm presuming so that they could devote more cars to the people coming home from the game. I didn't feel like waiting around for half an hour for a train that I wasn't sure was going to come. Fortunately I was able to get on a train that was going in the other direction, then get off and transfer to one that was going where I needed to go--and fortunately I had decided to park at the light rail station that was slightly more out of my way, but had more trains that stopped at it.

Transportation issues aside, it was a very good performance. The DCTC does a good job with everything they put on. I was in the front row, which did not seem too close at all. The show was staged on a thrust stage with a balcony and a large turntable. It felt a little like Les Misérables the way the turntable was used to bring in scenic elements and highlight the action.

The Liebeslieder were great--all of them had very strong voices. I remember seeing the actress who played Mrs. Anderssen play Signora Fioria in Do I Hear a Waltz? however many years ago I saw that. (She had been astonishing in that role.) The role of Fredrika alternated between two actors, and I don't know which one I saw because it wasn't specifically called out in the program, and both actors looked similar in their headshots. My favorite performances were Henrik, Petra and Mme. Armfeldt, which is an incredibly difficult role to play well, but she did an excellent "Liaisons" and a very credible death at the end (I guess I should put that in SPOILER ALERT tags :))--I believe every other production I've seen has made it look as if she simply falls asleep. Henrik had a powerful voice, which he used to great effect in both "Later" and the dinner scene. Petra unfortunately flubbed a lyric in "The Miller's Son," which I don't fault her for. Fredrik also flubbed a line at the end.

Desiree and Fredrik were both very good, and the audience actually applauded their getting together at the end of Act II. (Spoiler Alert again) "You Must Meet My Wife" was particularly strong. (I do hope that applauding when a couple gets together isn't becoming a trend.) The play-within-a-play was handled by putting Fredrik and Anne in the actual audience.

I do plan on seeing it again, hopefully on one of the dates where a talkback is planned for afterwards. Both those dates are on Thursday nights, so they won't conflict with football games.

The Broncos lost, by the way. :(


I went back to ALNM on Thursday, October 5, which was when a talkback was scheduled for after the show. Things I learned during the talkback:

• October 5 is Glynis Johns's birthday.

• "The Miller's Son" is the one song in the Sondheim repertoire that specifically calls for "a belter" (according to Cate, the actor who played Petra). The original Petra on Broadway was replaced because she couldn't handle the song. (I knew about the replacement, but not the reason.) SJS has also called "The Miller's Son" the moral of the show, which is something I didn't know, and don't ever remember seeing anywhere in my stack of I-don't-even-know-how-many Sondheim books, so now I'm wondering where I can find this information--not that I have any reason to doubt that tidbit. Has anybody else ever heard that about "The Miller's Son"?

• Also according to Cate (and agreed to by at least two other actors), Sondheim songs are incredibly easy for the actor to act, because he gives the actor all the material needed. Unfortunately it's a completely different story for the singer to sing.

• The woman sitting next to me had seen the original Broadway production of ALNM in 1974.

• The actor playing Fredrika was one of the participants in the talkback, which was fun. I believe this was a different Fredrika from the one I saw the first time. She is a student at The Logan School, which was once one of my clients--I designed a brochure for them about 20 years ago.