More Night Dialogue

A Little Night MusicI’ve just gotten the CD from the revival of A Little Night Music.  OK, Sondheim complete-ists are going to buy this anyway, so you can all stop reading now.

And speaking for Sondheim complete-ists, it is always nice to hear fresh takes on material you’ve played and played in previous versions.  And you hear differently.  A lyric that I always thought was “the rest of us wait for the spring” turns out to be “the rest of us wait on a string.” 

For everyone else, I hate not being able to recommend this CD more.  It decides to justify the 2-CD version by including large swaths of the dialogue, and often the decisions of how to edit the tracks are somewhat annoying.  For example, it would have been nice if the tracks were split so that you could get to the singing portion of Send in the Clowns without the preceding dialogue.

Another challenge is that A Little Night Music is one of the shows like Cabaret or Sunset Blvd where the “star” role is different from the “lead” role.  So the “stars” of this production are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, who each only have one solo in the show.  When I saw the show, I was astounded by Zeta-Jones’s luminous stage presence which sadly doesn’t translate to the CD.  Interestingly, Zeta-Jones’s Desiree is probably the best-sung of any major recording, but lets remember that the other major recordings are by Glynnis Johns, Jean Simmons, Sian Phillips, and Judi Dench.

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