A Little Night Music

Stephen Sondheim -  book by Hugh Wheeler

WPPAC  (White Plains Performing Arts Center)

I love this company.  I love that they bring professional quality theatre to the area.  They have mostly Equity actors and even those who are not are strong performers.  OK, here’s the plot.  As is often the case with theatre, unlike movies, the plot is beside the point.  The soldier gives up his mistress;  the mistress, finally ready to settle down with her other lover sings “Send in the Clowns,” and the stepson runs away with his stepmom who hasn’t consummated her marriage with the stepson’s father, and besides she is a virgin anyway so no harm done;  happily ever after. 

Fortunately knowing all that does not detract from a good production, and this is in some ways.  The acting is fine.  The movement is great, whether the actors are dancing or just moving around the stage.  Credit Melissa Rae Mahon and Sean McKnight for that. 

Penny Fuller does a good enough job with “Send in the Clowns,” but singing a classic song is tough.  It is like asking a singer to sing “My Way” after Frank and Elvis or “Stormy Weather” after Lena Horne.  As I said Penny Fuller does a good enough job.

Where I got distracted was with the music, but to be fair, a friend who saw the play does not share my view on this.  She thought the music was fine and is also a theatre aficionado so call it a wash.  But I did find the arrangements to be off unless it was the musicians themselves, which I doubt.  Something about the woodwinds was amiss.  Whether there was a flute and a clarinet or an oboe in the mix, I felt a dysphonic elf playing with my eardrums.  Distracting and unpleasant.

But, as I said, I love this company and I believe Jack Batman and Bruce David Harris do a fine job.  I will surely continue to patronize this fine theatre and I recommend them to you.

“A Little Night Music” runs through March 22 at the White Plains City Center.  Tickets are available at (914) 328-1600.