‘A Little Night Music’ coming to Penn State Centre Stage

UNIVERSITY PARK — It’s simply not just a bit of music — it’s “A Little Night Music.”

With soaring sounds of Stephen Sondheim’s music, Penn State Centre Stage presents “A Little Night Music” with 7:30 performances tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, and Nov. 11-15, with a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 9 at the on-campus Playhouse Theatre.

A unique feature of this insightful and, at times, stirring score is that Stephen Sondheim composed almost the entire musical in 3/4 time and variants.

Rick Lombardo, Penn State Centre Stage’s producing artistic director, said that “A Little Night Music” is a “delightful, wit-filled romp of romantic yearning, desire, and loss.”

“Filled with humanity, it’s one of Sondheim’s most luminous scores, and some of his most trenchant lyrics,” added Lombardo.

Running for over 600 performances on Broadway, this romantic musical has won six Tony Awards.

“A Little Night Music,” set in the early 20th century, interweaves a tangled web of current and former lovers among the upper crust elite of Sweden.

Set over the course of two weekends, the characters gingerly waltz through their longings for romantic involvements, which trigger resentments and definitely some jealousy.

Recently married to a young virgin, Anne, middle-aged lawyer Fredik has a son, Henrik, who’s a seminary student that has fallen madly in love with his father’s wife.

Fredik’s dedication to his blushing bride gets put to the test when he reunites with a former flame, a traveling actress named Desiree Amfledt.

The Act I closer “A Weekend In the Country” proves daunting when Desiree’s married and boorish lover Count Carl-Magnus learns of this liaison.

After Desiree convinces her mother to host Fredik and his family at their lavish country estate, the jealous Count, with his wife in tow, crashes the party.

It is the once-famous actress, Desiree, who mixes her wit with the pangs of regret by singing the show’s signature number, “Send In The Clowns.”

Penn State’s Dramaturg noted that the Act II ballad “Send In the Clowns” is in the running for Sondheim’s most successful song. Judy Collins’ recording of the song won the 1975 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Generally known as one of Stephen Sondheim’s personal favorites, “A Little Night Music” has a book by Hugh Wheeler, and is inspired by Ingmar Bergman acclaimed film “Smiles of a Summer Night.”

With a cast of 20, and a 16-piece orchestra, the Penn State Centre Stage production is directed by Phillip Fazio, with music direction by Dan Riddle. J. Austin Eyer serves as choreographer.

For more information, call 814-863-8255 or visit theatre@psu.edu.