Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Isn't it rich...?

One of the worst kept secrets in recent months has been the casting of the first-ever Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler's Tony winning A Little Night Music. Murmurs of Angela Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt have been swirling since the beginning of the summer (if not before) and the rest of the actors' names have been leaked out at one point or another. Then last week, Michael Douglas let it slip on Live with Regis and Kelly that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones would headlining as Desiree Armfeldt. (He immediately mused whether or not he was supposed to say anything).

Well, it's been announced that the musical will open at the Walter Kerr Theatre on December 13, with previews starting November 24. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury will indeed headline the revival, as well as Aaron Lazar as Carl-Magnus, Erin Davie as Charlotte, Leigh Ann Larkin as Petra and the sole holdout from the Menier revival, Alexander Hanson, will reprise his Olivier-nominated turn as Fredrik for NY audiences.

All due respect to the headlining divas, but the most interesting piece of casting is that of Anne Egerman. The role is being portrayed by Ramona Mallory, who is taking on the role created by her mother, Victoria Mallory, in the original Broadway company. It doesn't stop there: her father is Mark Lambert, who originated the role of Henrik.

I'm always grateful for the chance to see A Little Night Music, but had hoped that the original orchestrations would be reconsidered. The Menier production featured new charts by Jason Carr, who was responsible for eviscerating Sunday in the Park with George to a tinhorn and kazoo. (Hyperbole, yes, but it was the major flaw in that revival). I am loathe to think that Jonathan Tunick's sumptuous orchestrations will be streamlined by a lesser talent for the sake of cost and size. But beggars can't be choosers (though I realize I've personally yet to see a Sondheim revival on Broadway that used the superlative original orchestration). I quibble, but you know I'll be there and how!

Tickets go on sale online starting October 17, the Walter Kerr box office opens on October 19. (And of course those with Amex can get them starting September 30).


Dorian said...

I find most of the casting interesting--and I think Leigh Ann Larkin will be a superb Petra--but one choice I question is that of Aaron Lazar and Erin Davie to play the Malcolms.

I mean...it's not that I don't think they're good actors. I do! But I have a hard time thinking of the characters as a young man and woman. I don't think there's anything in the script that precludes it, though, so I suppose it's not a problem.

Except that my fantasy casting of either Barbara Walsh, Beth Leavel, or Susan Blackwell as Charlotte has now COME TO NAUGHT. Woe.

SarahB said...

Bizarre casting (sans Angela Lansbury and interesting about Ramona) + lack of the original orchestrations really makes me loath to be excited. C'est la vie. I'll be at the first preview no matter what.