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"A Little Night Music" at Manhattanville College

Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music, comes to life in the Little Theatre in Brownson Hall on the Manhattanville campus on Thursday, January 26, 2012.

If you are looking for a night of intricate love triangles and laughter, Manhattanville College has the perfect outlet for you.

In a joint venture between the Music and Dance and Theatre Departments, Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music, comes to life in the Little Theatre in Brownson Hall on the Manhattanville campus on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.

“If you are looking to have a good time and laugh and enjoy yourself and forgot your troubles and get into the troubles of someone else—because there are a lot of troubles—if you would like to escape then come see the show,” senior Sarah Morris said. “Because for that hour and a half you will be deeply involved in other people’s problems.”

A Little Night Music is the story of what happens when a middle-aged lawyer takes his 18-year old bride to see a play starring his former mistress. Add to the mix: the mistress’ current lover, his wife, a young seminary student, a lusty maidservant, the mistress’ mother and young daughter and the fun is only beginning.

“It’s a very challenging show for our students,” artist-in-residence Mark Cherry said. “The music is gorgeous but it’s intricate. They have had to really focus to do it. The lyrics are quite complicated because Sondheim is such a wordsmith, so getting it all to work and be intelligible to the audience is a real challenge.”

The 16-member cast has been working on the production since last semester, learning the music and learning their lines, but the last two weeks they’ve put everything together. The cast has been rehearsing 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, an experience that they can take with them when they move on to other productions.

“It’s a lot of work. The music is really difficult, but it’s so beautiful at the same time, you can’t help but fall in love with it,” senior Chelsey Jensen said. “We came into these last two weeks knowing the music and having an understanding of it, but it is so much different when you are bringing it to life and interacting with other actors. Somehow it all just comes together.”

The cast brings together students from the music, musical theatre, dance and theatre programs and even a biochemistry major, giving the production a strong mix of talent for the difficult Sondheim music.

“There are so many talented people in this cast,” junior Christopher Coffey said. “It makes it so much easier to work off of everyone else and appreciate what’s going on around you when you know everyone else is working so hard and is so good at what they are doing.”

The cast had the opportunity to work with Broadway choreographer Bonnie Walker, who has worked on 26 Broadway musicals, including Gypsy. Walker worked with the cast in the fall to teach them basic waltz steps for the show’s two big dance scenes and came back to put everything together over winter break. Ken Rothchild designed the set and Liz Prince took care of finding the period costumes.

Performances will be Thursday-Saturday, January 26-28 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday January 29 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 general admission, $5.00 for students and seniors. Seating is limited. Reservations are a must. Please contact the box office at (914) 323-7175. 

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