A Little Night Music Makes Its Way to the Philippine Stage

Love, regrets, and possibilities, even in middle age, are lived and agonized over by several couples in A Little Night Music, the Tony Award-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim. Following a successful revival on Broadway and in the West End, this melancholy romantic comedy is being brought to the Philippines and showcases award-winning actress Dawn Zulueta and Noni Buencamino. From October 15 to 30, 2010, enthusiasts can catch their performances at the RCBC Plaza in Makati.

Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night inspired the book by Tony award-winner Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Oscar-, Tony-, and Grammy-award winner Stephen Sondheim. Its title is derived from the German name for Mozart’s Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

A Little Night Music was first performed at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in 1973 and boasted a total of 601 shows. It was revived in London’s West End under Tony award winning director Trevor Nunn from November 2008 to July 2009, earning five 2010 Olivier Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Its trademark song is “Send in the Clowns,” sung by the character named Desiree Armfeldt, the sad actress whose 15 minutes of fame were over long ago. “Just when I’d stopped opening doors, finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours, making my entrance again with my usual flair, sure of my lines, no one is there,” she tragically reflects.

Many famous actresses have portrayed Desiree and her mother, Madame Armfeldt. In 1977, it was made into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. The recent Broadway revival starred Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, who gave way to the renditions of Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch.
And now, the Philippines’ own Dawn Zulueta is trying her hand. She returns after a 12-year hiatus from theatre as Elsa Montes in, Larawan, the Musical. Her experience and acting prowess make her the perfect fit to be the Filipina Desiree.

She is helped by world-famous director Bobby Garcia. In an interview, he shared that she was his one and only choice for the role, and he was thrilled when she agreed. Bobby Garcia is best known for his direction of Hairspray, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Asia tour), Dogeaters, and Avenue Q (Manila and Singapore), which are icing on top of his other work in film, television, stage, and live concert entertainment (including those with Lea Salonga).

Also joining the cast are Felix Rivera, Cris Villonco, Jake Macapagal, Jenny Jamora, Alys Serdenia and Jay Glorioso. Felix Rivera is the up-and-coming young heartthrob of the musical scene, who claimed major roles in Avenue Q, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Legally Blonde, and Xanadu. The ensemble features Raul Montesa, Teenee Chan, Agnes Barredo, Jenny Nuyda, Glen Llanes, Crystal Paras, Bea Garcia and Anthony Tarrosa Ong.

A Little Night Music will run from October 15 to 31, at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. Its address is 6819 Ayala Avenue, bounded by Senator Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia) on the north and Ayala Avenue on the west. The auditorium is located in the northeastern corner of the 4th Podium.

The musical is approximately two hours long. It runs only on weekends, Friday to Sunday. Show times are: October 15 at 8:00 pm; October 16 at 8:00 pm; October 17 at 3:00 pm; October 23 at 8:00 pm; October 24 at 3:00 pm; October 29 at 8:00 pm; October 30 at 8:00 pm; and October 31 at 3:00 pm.

Tickets range from P600 to P1,500. Specifically, they are P1,500 for Orchestra Center, P1,300 for Orchestra Side, P1,100 for Loge Center, P900 for Loge Side, and P600 for Balcony seats. Call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078 or 840-1187 for tickets.

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Joe Mead, AKA Traveling Joe, is one of the founders of DigMNL.

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