LW Meets “Night Music” Artists

photoLemonWade was out in force today at the press meet-and-greet for an eagerly anticipated production of “A Little Night Music,” which will begin a three-week run at the White Plains Performing Arts Center on March 5. (I was there as a reporter, Jerry Wade as a photographer: he took the picture here of actress Penny Fuller and music director James Bassi, and another after the jump of the entire cast.) The production will be directed by Sidney J. Burgoyne. The lovely Ms. Fuller, who plays Desiree in this 1973 show by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, told me that doing “Night Music” isn’t easy. “It combines so many genres,” she said. “It’s got French farce and romance and is both a musical and a proper play. I identify with my character, an actress who’s also a mother raising a child mostly by herself, which is what I did with my daughter.” Fuller said that she saw the original Broadway production with her mother and with Tony Roberts. “It was wonderful. The actress Ludi Claire” — nee Edilou Bailhe, in Ft. Wayne Indiana — “was also there that night. In many ways, Ludi was Desiree.” Why has “Night Music” never been revived on Broadway? “It’s tricky to do,” Fuller answered, “because, as I said, it combines so many different things. Also, Broadway musicals are much more about spectacle now, not about more adult, big-chamber stories like this.”

tn-1Making sure that the White Plains production is appropriately scaled is music director Bassi. “I’ve condensed the original Jonathan Tunick orchestrations,” Bassi told me. “They’re now more chamber-sized. For much of the show, the winds tend to dominate; after ‘Send In The Clowns,’ the strings rise to the fore.” Bassi’s other work at White Plains, whose executive producer is Jack W. Batman, has included “Camelot.”

Leave a Comment