Heartbreak, lust and hilarity will come to life this weekend as a group of undergraduates prepare to stage one of history’s most famous musicals.
Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s “A Little Night Music” opens this Friday in Harkness Auditorium. The show will be staged in concert, meaning that actors will stand with their scripts at the front of the stage and the music ensemble will be seated behind them. Skyler Ross ’16, the show’s producer, said the production will be the first undergraduate production in recent years to be staged in concert.
“This is the first time undergraduates in recent memory have ever tried something like this where we are stripping away all of the [show’s] normal and technical elements,” Ross said. “We have the opportunity now to put on a large, exciting musical that normally would not be possible.”
Musical Director Dan Rubins ’16 highlighted the difficulties of staging the show in its original form on campus, noting that the costs of microphones, lights, costumes and sets render such large-scale productions financially impossible. Rubins and Ross said they think that concert productions provide valuable opportunities to perform shows without a large financial and temporal burden.
Ross said he believes that since actors do not have to worry about typical theatrical logistics like set or costume changes, they can focus more on the script and the music. He and several cast members added that they think the show can stand alone without theatrical extravagance.
“[The production] does not have all the bells and whistles of the typical musical with the elaborate costumes and sets,” said Michelle Fogarty ’16, who plays Fredrika Armfeldt in the show.
Max Sauberman ’17, who plays Henrik Egerman, said the audience can look forward to absurdity and ridicule in the performance, noting that his character falls in love with his stepmother. Fogarty, whose character is an illegitimate child, echoed Sauberman’s thoughts but noted that she thinks the characters are also very relatable.
Ross said that performing the show in concert has allowed for more students from different extracurricular backgrounds to participate. Sauberman, who sings in The Yale Spizzwinks(?), said that he and several others in the show who are interested in drama have never had the opportunity to participate in a full production at Yale because of the time commitment required of most theater shows.
There is currently a dialogue on campus about improving the structure and accessibility of musical productions, Ross added. Since this is the first undergraduate concert production they know of, Ross and Rubin said they hope the production of “A Little Night Music” will serve as a model for future shows on campus.
“A Little Night Music” first opened on Broadway in 1973.