NYTimes on A Little Night Music

I thought Isherwood’s review of the cast change in the NYTimes was more tepid than the show deserves.  But here’s a money quote: “But for theater lovers there can be no greater current pleasure than to witness Bernadette Peters perform the show’s signature number, “Send In the Clowns,” with an emotional transparency and musical delicacy that turns this celebrated song into an occasion of transporting artistry. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced with such palpable force — or such prominent goose bumps — the sense of being present at an indelible moment in the history of musical theater.”

And I thought that this is what we all work toward in cabaret: “The halting phrases of the song suggest the overwhelming emotion Desirée is just keeping in check. Ms. Peters invests each brittle line with a full measure of feeling without losing the arc of the music or any of the delicate irony in the lyrics. Despite her sadness Desirée is too generous and too sophisticated to make a melodrama even of her own heartbreak. And yet while Ms. Peters’s Desirée erases her tears with flashing smiles, the inner devastation comes through with moving clarity. Ms. Peters transmits with equal force the sense of Desirée growing into new wisdom about what matters in love — and in life — at long last, and much too late.”

3 Responses to NYTimes on A Little Night Music

  1. […] was sassy and smart, with just the right hint of desperation. And so what if Judi Dench’s “Send in the Clowns” was slightly more wracked than of yore? This best known of Sondheim’s […]

  2. Piers Ford says:

    I couldn’t agree more. In the right hands – those of a singing actress (or even a non-singing one, with the greatest of respect to Judi Dench!), on the whole, “Send in the Clowns” is a deathless song, despite the many travesties it has suffered over the years. This is a lovely summation, which makes me long to see Bernadette Peters as Desiree.

  3. Maris Wicker says:

    I just saw this production. Whoa… what a treat. “Send in the Clowns” was like a new song.

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