Douglas Anderson School of the Arts A Little Nigh tMusic

Douglas Anderson’s A Little Night Music

The theatre department of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts presented Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award Winning musical, A Little Night Music on November 19-21.
I write this review feeling happy and sad. Happy to have had the opportunity to see such a spectacular show, sad because, as with most high schools, their performances are only for one weekend and I cannot urge you to go and see it.

This musical almost did not get done this year. Douglas Anderson has a policy that they will only do a musical every other year. According to the program, this is to maintain the curricular integrity of all departments. What changed the minds of Director Lee Beger and Vocal Director Jeffery Clayton was large number of talented voices in the current classes who they deemed deserve to gain experience outside of the classroom. They were right, the vocal talent was exceptional. Stephen Sondheim’s music is never easy and it takes good voices to do justice to his music.

Sondheim and book writer Hugh Wheeler borrowed the story from an Ingmar Bergman movie titled Smiles of a Summer Night. It is about lust, aging and love. Middle aged attorney, Fredrik (Nick Jones) has some problems with his young wife Anne (Isabella Miyares). After almost a year of marriage, Anne is still not ready to consummate the marriage and Fredrik finds himself back in this arms of his former lover, Desiree (Danielle Cheiken). Anne and Fredrik’s maid Petra (Kelly Wyatt) develops the hots for Fredrik’s handsome son Henrik (Caleb Rand) who is already in love with Anne. To further complicate things, Desiree already has a lover in Count Carl Mangus (Nicholas Sacks), who also happens to have a wife, Charlotte (Katy Jacobson).

For the first time in DA theatre history, they invited a guest artist to play the elderly Madame Armfeldt (Desiree’s mother). Dr. Valerie Anthony, who teaches at DA, was a wonderful addition and gave the role the maturity it required. (As well as Ms. Anthony superb acting talents.)

That is as far as I will take you in the story. You may have a chance to see it elsewhere. It is being revived on Broadway in December. You might find the l977 movie with Elizabeth Taylor available somewhere.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.