Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Little Night Music

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Judith Jorosz
Produced by Theater 2020

Nominated for: Outstanding Costume Design, Viviane Galloway; Outstanding Production of a Musical

About the Production
A Little Night Music is a charming musical with. Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it involves the romantic lives of several couples and has proved to be one of Sondheim’s most popular pieces for performers and audiences alike. The musical includes the immensely popular song "Send in the Clowns". Come and see this piece directed in a (haunted or haunting?) gothic chapel, and be literally surrounded by the sounds of Sondheim.

Dedicated to providing affordable theatre to 21st Century audiences, Theater 2020’s production of A Little Night Music brought a story about the endurance of love to Brooklyn Heights. According to David Browning of the Huffington Post, this professional and grounded production explored “young love, love revived, and love found again.”

Director Judith Jarosz and Costume Designer Viviane Galloway discuss the process of reimagining this classic and the gratification of surprising audiences.


What attracted you to this production?

Viviane: I was very excited to work on this production because I knew that I would have the opportunity to work with several people that I love to work with. Especially because it has been many years since I've worked with Giles Hoyga--he is a wonderful lighting designer and I was excited to work with him again.

Judith: I have three words: Sondheim, Sondheim, Sondheim. We were also performing at the First Unitarian Church, an intimate gothic space where the fabulous singers do NOT have mics and the audience is surrounded, so they can hear every brilliant lyric.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Viviane: I had actually never seen a production of A Little Night Music before ( I don’t know, how is that possible?) and in addition we were working with a non-traditional concept so I really wasn't influenced by any previous productions. I didn't have any worries about how our production would compare to others. I just got to have fun exploring this world that we were creating.

Judith: I have worked with Sondheim at the NYC Opera and it is always a dream to work on his pieces. This one is probably an all-time favorite. Also, the staff, crew and cast all worked incredibly hard (some traveling from another state!) with top notch professionalism and little more than their artistic fulfillment and pride in the production as a reward. The sound blend for this cast was superb.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Viviane: It always takes longer for me to feel that I really "get" a musical. When I read a play, I hear all the voices and I see the characters in my head and I understand the subtext and because it is easy for me, my mind can explore ideas as I read. When I read a musical, I don't have that as much because I don't speak the language of music. So my mind is working harder just to understand the structure and the lyrics and the pacing, and it isn't free to drift--my ideas come from the drifting. I had a really hard time seeing Charlotte, the Countess. I didn't understand who she was from the music, and the actress hadn't had time to discover her yet either...but I think in the end we both nailed it!

Judith: Tiny budget, high cost & limited rehearsal time always make creating magic at a showcase level a major challenge. And musicals are usually 3 times the work of many straight plays.

What did you want the audience to come away with after watching is production of A Little Night Music?

Judith: I wanted the audience to see that there are many ways to present a piece of theater. And then blowing them away by how even more amazing Sondheim is when you can hear every lyric.

What was the most noteworthy part of this production for you?

Viviane: It took some audience members a while to understand that this production wasn't going to look like other productions that they had seen before. It wasn't going to be a period production. It wasn't going to be light and airy. We wanted it to be rather dark and gothic. Often when Judith or I told someone it was going to be gothic, they thought we meant Goth! Which also would have been a fun choice...

Judith: There were many fun moments with this cast & crew. We laughed a LOT!

What was it like to work with Theater 2020?

Viviane: During this production, I got really sick during a production. I mean, 'worried that I wouldn't get out of bed to finish things" kind of sick. But I did, I think I missed a dress rehearsal, but I got everything done. And the cast was amazing, they helped where they could, they helped each other with hair and makeup, they were patient when I kept promising things like suspenders and hooks and it took longer than I hoped for all that to get done. But everyone was awesome, and I felt that they were supportive of me no matter what happened.

You can follow these artists on Twitter
Theater 2020 - @Theater2020
 Viviane Galloway -  @CostumeGal

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