Songs of a Winter Night in Brooklyn

Adam A. Baritot
Courtesy Theater 2020 I braved frigid temperatures Saturday night to see
's new production of Mr. Sondheim's masterpiece
A Little Night Music
. The story is based largely on the Ingmar Bergman film
Smiles of a Summer Night
. It is convoluted and operatic, having to do with young love, love revived, and love found again. There is a wise old dowager, a naive young lad, a sassy young servant wench, a Greek chorus-like ensemble--everything you need for an evening's entertainment! Cold though it was outside, I was glad I went, and I highly recommend seeing the show. It runs through March 6.

The performances were what sold this show. The cast, many of whom appeared courtesy of Actor's Equity Association, was comprised of seasoned veterans and fresh young faces. Among my favorites were Adam A. Baritot as Count Carl-Magnus and Jessica Rose Futran as his wife, Countess Charlotte. Mr. Baritot was full of swagger and braggadocio and ego and insecurity. He is so convinced no woman could prefer another man that he must take desperate measures to reassure himself of it. Not for him social niceties like invitations or consideration of his wife's feelings. Ms. Futran gave Countess Charlotte at the same time an icy dignity and a charming vulnerability. She was a delight to watch, and one was glad things wound up happily for Charlotte.

Christopher J. Nolan
Courtesy Theater 2020
Christopher J. Nolan as Henrik was another favorite. Mr. Nolan is a fine singer and a good actor, and gave us Henrik's pent-up desire conflicted with earnest piety with great conviction. Chloe Holgate, playing Anne, the young woman Henrik loves, was charming. The two had an almost palpable chemistry when together on stage. Too bad Anne is already married. To Henrik's father.
I quite liked Elyse Beyer as Anne's earthy maid and confidant Petra. Petra knows how to enjoy life and has no hesitation when a new adventure is offered to her--if the man offering the adventure meets her standards. She and Anne have a Countess/Susanna-like relationship, with the more experienced maid offering advice and sympathy to the innocent young bride. Petra's song "I Shall Marry the Miller's Son" had a great sense of fun, and I could understand nearly all of Ms. Beyer's words.
Lorinne Lampert
Courtesy Theater 2020
Although I liked David Fuller as Frederik and Lorinne Lampert as Desiree, two former lovers considering reuniting, I would love to have seen more chemistry, more spark between them. Perhaps the intimate nature of the small and awkward performance space was a handicap, for I had the feeling they would have played better in a larger house.
The quintet (Mary Stewart Evans, Stephanie Jabre, Jay Aubrey Jones, Richard Lisenby, Mary Thorne) deserve kudos, as does director Judith Jarosz for her handling of the awkward performance space. Music Director Kevin A. Smith deserves special praise for leading the cast musically while playing a score reduction with great skill at the piano.
All in all, the few limitations in this show are greatly overshadowed by the eager and excellent performances of a solid cast. Highly recommended.