Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Favorite Musical

Posted by Bruce Miller
Ask anyone who knows me to name my favorite musical and they will say A Little Night Music. It's held the number one spot, with no serious competition, since that spring night in 1973 when I sat on the first row of the mezzanine, slightly house right of center, swept away by the original production and the original cast.

I was 22 years old. This, I thought, is what Broadway is all about.

The images that were burned into my psyche that evening will last, I hope, my lifetime. Glynis Johns, sitting alone on her white bed in that red dress singing Send in the Clowns absolutely broke my heart. And what followed on stage thereafter not only repaired my lovelorn passions, it all sent me out into the balmy night on a song, feeling wiser and deeper than I had felt when I walked into that theatre expecting only the opportunity to see a show.

I thought the entire cast, the direction and the design were exceptional. Mostly, the script, music and lyrics connected more deeply with my soul than any other musical before or since.

When I heard that Night Music was being revived on Broadway this season with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Desiree and Angela Lansbury as her mother, I really wanted to go. Most particularly, I really wanted to take my daughter Hannah, the other theatre LOVER in my family. (Terrie and Curt put up with my passion for the stage, and faithfully attend play after play, but they have passions of their own that far outweigh theatre.)

This past weekend, Hannah and I spent four days and three nights seeing five Broadway shows, including A Little Night Music. I have no time to write about the trip or the show this morning, but let me say this. We both LOVED the revival.

Watching this very different production, I completely remembered everything that once captured my heart. Best of all, Hannah left the theatre saying this was now her favorite Broadway production. And meaning it. And she's seen a lot.

I look forward to writing more later, about the revival of Night Music, and our other visits to A View from the Bridge, Ragtime, God of Carnage and the new Donald Margulies play, Time Stands Still.

I'll also write about our visits with Barksdale/Theatre IV friends Zak Resnick, Mark Ludden, Hunter Herdlicka (starring as Henrik in A Little Night Music) Corey Bradley (making his Broadway debut in the ensemble of Ragtime, which closed on Sunday), and Lizzie Holland.

--Bruce Miller


Anonymous said...

So why has "A Little Night Music" not been produced at the Barksdale before?

Bruce Miller said...

I directed A Little Night Music for Theatre IV perhaps twenty-five years ago. We presented the play at the Hodges Theatre at VCU. I was very proud of the production. I've always hoped to take another shot at Night Music as my swan song, shortly before I retire, hopefully not too many years from now.