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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Playing beautiful ‘night music’

    Ed Flores

    Courtesy of Ed Flores

    The characters from “A Little Night Music” out for a day in the country. From left to right: Henrik (Josh Dunn), Petra (Sarah Bartley), Anne (Taylor Pearlstein), Fredrik (Charlie Hall), Countess Charlotte (Sarah Ambrose), Count Carl-Magnus (Micah Bond) and Osa (Chandler Corley-Essex) in Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production, running until May 3 in the UA Marroney Theatre.

    For generations, the UA School of Theatre has counseled, trained and presented young and talented performers to stages all across the world. Rooted in their passion for their art, students transform from inexperienced actors to versatile professionals. There is a palpable excitement that comes with watching a production with a cast made up of UA students, because the talent these performers possess transcends the small stage. In fact, their artistic capacity abounds beyond the UA itself.

    The captivating cast of “A Little Night Music” keeps this legacy alive as they waltz in and out of a complex web of hindered relationships.   

    “We get to use what we learn in the BFA program directly into a professional style setting and into the work,” said Charlie Hall, a musical theatre sophomore playing one of the lead roles, Fredrik Egerman. “We get to see the result of what we’ve been studying, a craft, right before us. Having our professors be our directors, … they’re able to apply what we learn in the classes and … see us utilize that on a bigger scale.”

    Both Hall and Audrey Roberts, a musical theatre junior playing Desiree Armfeldt, acknowledged the value of being able to apply what they learn in their classes to an official production. However, both students said the play required intense preparation and diligence.

    “It’s a lot of work outside of rehearsals,” Roberts said. “We have rehearsals four hours every day, and then outside of that, to really find your character, you have to do a lot of research on the time period. … We do a lot of character work. I’ve met with a few of my other actors in the play. You just talk about your relationship in the past that you’ve had together, and it’s really fun.”

    Hall and Roberts agreed that although the play demands a lot physically and emotionally, being a part of “A Little Night Music” is truly a special honor. 

    “It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding artistic experiences of my life,” Hall said. “Those little intimate moments … and the trials and tribulations that each of these characters go through, I feel like every human being goes through in one way or another.”

    For Roberts, getting to sing “Send in the Clowns” will be one of her most cherished memories.

    “It’s a dream to get to show that vulnerability and get to stand there in front of hundreds of people and just bare your soul,” Roberts said. “You have to work up to it, and it changes for me every night. I feel something different all the time.”

    Although the play runs about three hours long, each moment engages the audience with witty humor, thoughtful songs and beautiful costumes.

    According to the Arizona Repertory Theatre website, “A Little Night Music” is a five-time Tony award-winning musical. In the play, middle-aged Fredrick Egerman, is married to Anne, a young, self-absorbed girl who fears sexual engagement with her husband. Henrik Egerman, son of Fredrick, harbors a secret love for Anne. However, his passion to serve God constantly contradicts his desires — causing him to fight an internal, emotional battle. While Anne’s loyalty remains true to her husband, Fredrick can’t get his old lover, Desiree Armfeldt, off his mind. Desiree, a selfish yet charming woman, still manifests feelings for Fredrick, but the man of her current affair prevents the two from coming together easily.

    The delicate foundation on which these interlacing relationships stand crumbles when hidden affairs divulge themselves during a weekend they spend altogether in the country. Yet still, love prevails.

    “I would say the three parts [of the play] are love, sex and time,” Roberts said. “I would say a big overarching [theme] is desire, and what different age groups want at different times in their life, and how they love differently at those different times. … [It’s about] Anne and Henrick, me and Fredrick, and Madame Armfeldt and our different ways of loving the different people mixed with the sex, mixed with what we really want.”

    Hall said the overarching message of the play revolved around human behavior throughout a person’s life.

    “It’s the school of life,” Hall said. “It shows the different grades of school of life, from the young at heart to those who have gone through pain and finally learn, and those who have finished learning. At the end, when you’re done learning, … you die, … you graduate.”

    Each character brought exceptional detail to their performance. From the way Henrik caressed his cello as he dreamed about Anne to the way Madame Armfeldt cradled her cigarette holder and methodically exhaled the smoke, all of the actors embodied their characters with great precision and passion — producing a truly superb production that will show at the Marroney Theatre until May 3.

    “I hope that [audience members] take away the message of, if you love somebody, you just [got to] go for them,” Roberts said. “You can’t hold back. … If that person is out there and you know who they are at this point in your life, don’t wait [because] you don’t know how long you have. You have to try. If you don’t try, then you aren’t living.”


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