Photo by Emily Cooper
Following on the successful heels of Gateway’s co-productions with Sky High Productions, the Richmond theatre opens its 2017-18 season with the Sondheim musical A Little Night Music, also a co-production, this time with Patrick Street Productions.
Set at the turn of the last century in Sweden, director Peter Jorgensen says, “A Little Night Music interweaves a tangled web of former and current lovers. It is full of hilariously witty and heartbreakingly moving moments of adoration, regret and desire.”
Calling it “Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece,” Jorgensen says what he loves about Sondheim’s creation is that the songs are woven into the story line.
They fit naturally and progress the story.
It isn’t a matter of “oh right, let’s all stop everything and have a song here.” They flow naturally with the live orchestra accompanying the actors.
“A Little Night Music is an intimate story about intimate relationships,” Jorgenson says.
For that reason, he finds Gateway the perfect place to mount this production.
“It’s a big theatre but it feels like the audience is really close when you’re on the stage. It’s great for a show like A Little Night Music, because it’s meant to be an intimate musical not a big mega-musical spectacle.”
Send in the Clowns, a song made famous by Judy Collins comes from A Little Night Music. Sung, steeped in regret, by an older character in the play, the enigmatic meaning of a popular ballad becomes vividly clear.
Jorgensen outlines the different ages of the couples, from young lovers, to older, to middle-aged and as he puts it, “then you’ve got Madam Armfeldt, a woman in her 70s or 80s.”
Perfect for those who don’t normally prefer musicals, Jorgensen talks of people who have come up to him after the show to say it’s the first musical they’ve really liked. It’s a show with meaning, heart and humour.
“It’s about love and sex and desire, at all ages and stages of life,” he says. “That’s the appeal ofA Little Night Music; it will grab anyone because there’s almost a guarantee that there'll be at least one character that you’ll identify with.”
A Little Night Music; runs at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre from Oct. 12 to 21. For more information: gatewaytheatre.com/littlenightmusic