ShowBizRadio

Theater Info for Maryland

Spotlighters Theatre A Little Night Music

By • Jul 6th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
A Little Night Music
Spotlighters Theatre
Spotlighters Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Through july 24th
2:45 with intermission
$20/$18 Seniors/$16 Students
Reviewed July 1st, 2011

A Light Night Music tells the story of the interconnected love affairs (or liaisons) between several members of an upper-class society. This is not your typical light-hearted musical comedy. The moral ramifications of the characters actions are questionable and live in the grey-area, and the score is complex, intricate, and filled with lyrics that are mostly metaphorical word puzzles. The production really requires the audience to think deeply and pay careful attention. In Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre’s production of this complex work, it is evident that the cast and production team have really done their homework. Every actor, every detail, every moment, and every note comes across like it was carefully planned and considered in order to undertake this challenging endeavor.

The space that is used by Spotlighter’s is a small and intimate theatre-in-the-round setting. Fuzz Roark (Director/Lighting Designer/Set Design) does a real excellent job of making the show work with the existing layout and making the audience feel like they are peeking in windows at the romantic entanglements of the cast. The set is extremely simple, but the choices of coloring and details and when to add set pieces are precise and demonstrate critical thought. Even at the times that this means that you don’t see a full front view of some action, the delicate intimacy of the staging makes it work with just the glimpses of profiles, the way actors carry themselves, or in the way their hands are touching, almost touching, or not touching the person beside them. The only problem was that, at times, it all seemed a little too rehearsed and a little too planned and precise. In the careful attention to detail, to hitting every note, to making sure all the words came out just right, a little spontaneity was lost that may have brought a little more energy, pace, and excitement to some of the slower parts of the story.

At the center of the story is Fredrik Egerman, played by Will Emory. Emory has a beautiful voice, and his every move was polished. He, however, was one who definitely sometimes seemed a little out of the skin of his character. He knew what choice to make, he basically knew why he was making that choice, but he didn’t quite transcend to the next level of really making that choice anew in the moment. Fredrik is married to the 18-year old Anne, played by Laura Kavinski. Another gorgeous voice, she had moments of both real, fresh sincerity and slightly forced play-acting. The standout in that family was Fredrik’s son Henrik, played by Jeffrey Coleman. Coleman is obviously an extremely well-trained operatic vocalist with a voice that can melt, and his awkward, subtle performance was the most real and heartfelt in the show. The Egerman’s maid, Petra, was portrayed by Coby Kay Callahan. Although she was often over-the-top, she exuded a very natural sexiness that really sizzled combined with her very original vocal quality in “The Miller’s Son.”

At the heart of the conflict is the rekindling of an old affair between Fredrik and the actress Desire Armfeldt, played by Michele Jenkins Guyton. Throughout, Guyton is one of the most inconsistent. At moments, she will be spot-on with her comedic timing or convey volumes in a simple gesture. At other times, she seems very stifled and comes across extremely forced. However, she makes up for any imperfections in the amazing moment when she connects with the song “Send in the Clowns” on such a deep, emotional level, that arm hairs stood on end, stomach fluttered, and eyes watered all across the room. The song also settles nicely on the lower, warmer part of her range. Two of the weakest spots in the ensemble came from Desire’s daughter Fredrika, Meghan Fluke, and mother Leonora, Suzanne Young. Fluke was obviously out of her element among the more seasoned performers and seemed constantly disconnected from the material. Young was very strong in her acting moments, but her performance of “Liaisons” was so uninspired and vocally flawed that it was hard to even continue to watch.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the strongest performances in the ensemble came from Jimmy Heyworth (Count Magnus) and Angela Sullivan (Charlotte). Heyworth completely embodied his character so that it could be seen in his eyes at all moments, and Sullivan was quick, clever, and natural in her timing and delivery. You could feel her pain, while, all the time, she maintained grace and poise. Also excellent were the Liebeslieders (Edwin Perez, Kristen Zwobot, Hillary LaBonte, George Wilkerson, and Holly Gibbs). All five had really incredible voices and the professional disconnect affected by these performers was extremely appropriate for their roles.

This is definitely a production worth seeing. Guyton’s rendition of “Send in the Clowns” is alone worth the admission price. Still, it would be nice if the cast would relax a little, know that they have all the nuances down, and just have a little fun losing themselves in the world of these characters. That little bit of humanity would better help the audience to like and sympathize with the characters even when they are making choices that some among us might question.

Photo Gallery

3793667_orig 3471656_orig
9933929_orig 299327_orig
1791144_orig 896777_orig
4613512_orig 2994575_orig

Photos by Ken Stanek Photography

Cast

  • Mr. Lindquist: Edwin Perez
  • Mrs. Nordstrom: Kristen Zwobot
  • Mrs. Anderson: Hillary LaBonte
  • Mr. Erlanson: George Wilkerson
  • Mrs. Segstrom: Holly Gibbs
  • Fredrik Egerman: Will Emory
  • Anne Egerman: Laura Kavinski
  • Count Carl Magnus Malcolm: Jimmy Heyworth
  • Countess Charlotte Malcolm: Angela Sullivan
  • Henrik Egerman: Jeffrey Coleman
  • Petra: Coby Kay Callahan
  • Desire Armfeldt: Michele Jenkins Guyton
  • Fredrika Armfeldt: Meghan Fluke
  • Madame Leonora Armfeldt: Suzanne Young

Production Team:

  • Director: Fuzz Roark
  • Musical Director: Michael Tan
  • Stage Manager: Jen Medina-Gray
  • Lighting Designer: Fuzz Roark
  • Costume Designer: Heather C. Jackson
  • Set Design: Fuzz Roark
  • Set Construction: Fuzz Roark, Michael Spellman
  • Set Painting: Fuzz Roark, Molly Hopkins, Alaina Pomeroy, Garrett Pomeroy
  • Scene Art/Set Dressing: Fuzz Roark

Orchestra

  • Director/Keyboards: Michael Tan
  • Percussion: Chris Marino
  • Bass: Nick Fugate

Disclaimer: Spotlighters Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: ,

This article can be linked to as: http://maryland.showbizradio.com/goto/55.

has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

Comments are closed.