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Reviews of A Little Night Music 
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Post Reviews of A Little Night Music
What has everyone thought after going and seeing this show? I was looking at the videos on broadway.com today. I'd like to see it since it is a Sondheim musical and it does look good. I felt that from the video Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury were very professional in their interviews and performances while Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch were all over the place in their interview and performances. Particulary the way that Bernadette answered her questions, they were very child-like, easy, thoughtless, answers. Her voice is very different from other people. All I can think of when I hear her is her playing the witch in the Original Broadway Cast of Into the Woods. Has anyone seen the show with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch? Did anyone see both casts and can compare the two? Thanks! :D

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Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Reviews of A Little Night Music
I saw it with CZJ and Lansbury. And I'm about go back and see Peters and Stritch (twice) in December.

I don't think Bernadette has always interviewed amazing well (at least when I read an interview just before she was about to play Rose in GYPSY, it wasn't particularly insightful either).

But just so you know Bernadette's reviews have practically been raves; she has been much better received than CZJ was. Like I find it very strange for you to say her performance, especially is "all over the place", because I think her clips (especially Clowns - if Peters is good at one thing it is explicit vulnerability) are very polished. The reviews for Peters/Stritch have in general been more positive than the previous outing, and on Facebook Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (such a strange name :P) said he prefers the show with the new cast.


I also don't see her performance as the witch at all from the clips (have you seen/heard her in other roles? I tend to type cast her as "Bernadette Peters" rather than a particular role, if anything).


Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:29 pm
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Post Re: Reviews of A Little Night Music
Ok, so I've seen both casts now.

CZJ vs Peters - it's hard to compare. Firstly, though, Peters' clowns is really just perfect IMO, and is so much more emotional and 'genuine' than CZJs. (This is coming from a fan of CZJ's Clowns, who thinks the Tony performance didn't really represent what she did on stage). She completely nailed it both times I saw it

Her moment in Clowns is especially touching because up until that point BP's performance is mainly very over the top and 'funny'. Like, when she opens her nightgown and says "THE PAGE THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN ON" She kind of says it over the top and shoutingly. She also employs her trademarks - she uses the lowest range of her voice for comedic effect when sitting awk is wardly with the Count in the scene in her room with Fredrick, and she often uses her little squels and things. So when it comes to "Clowns" it's interesting because she finally shows a real, vulnerable side to her character. I know it's an easy cop-out but I do think that the over the topness comes because she is an 'actress', so she has this farcical side that she is always willing to show. However, she definitely was acting the whole time - like there was every nuance in "Glamorous Life" especially, she really knows her life isn't Glamorous at all.

Now, I'm not sure if you're aware but CZJ also had an over the top performance, but I believe that she was less 'professional' about it in that her OTTness sometimes borderlined on unintentional hammyness. E.g. in Clowns a melodramatic head swing right at the end, I remember well. BUT CZJ's personality, her celebrity and glamour made her performance enjoyable IMO, there was just something 'there' when she'd be saying the dignity lines while 'acting' as desireƩ, as anne/fredrick would be looking on, even if it wasn't from her acting. I think if CZJ and BP were both unknowns BP would have the better performance, but CZJ's stage presence etc.. adds a lot to her performance, I think.

Stritch VS Lansbury. Lansbury ploughed through her lines quickly in comparison to Stritch, who.....pauses....so...long.....every...time...she.....talks. E.g. in the wooden ring speech when she is like I wanted "yachts..jewels" etc.. she pauses after every single thing and waits for a laugh. I found Lansbury's take on this hilarious, like ploughing through it all then saying quickly "AND I GOT THEM TOO", but the audience I saw didn't find it as funny as Stritch's dragged performance. You could say that Stritch's line delivery is very good in showing an old woman about to die, and comedy, but I wonder if it's more that she needs the time to remember the next line. She forgot lines in one of the performance I saw her in. It was very weird, her Liaisons started as a monologue with underscoring (i.e. no attempt at singing), she would then pause while a whole section of the music would go by and quickly say her line (e.g. *underscore underscore*"Where I spent a somewhat infamous year", where she should have said it with the underscoring) - so yes a lot of backphrasing. She forgot the line "Indiscriminate women it paints me more than I can say", BUT, she does a great job in making all her mistakes part of the character - her performance kind of makes recovery from forgetting fool proof, when if Lansbury were to pause during her Liaisons you'd notice straight away. I'm guessing Stritch's performance of Liaisons varies each night in terms of pace, backphrasing etc.. depending on how much she remembers it. The first night was just slow but no mistakes and not as much backphrasing, the next night worse. I'm sure she could never get the lines out like Lansbury could, though.

But Stritch's personality and comedy made her performance enjoyable, although by the end of Liaisons she was practically crying in despair and her "Wooden Ring" speech is also touching, Lansbury did a better job at playing the 'character' (though some even criticise her, so).

I remember a lot about the show seeing it twice, and there is so much to say. But it was like seeing two different shows, I wouldn't really want to pick 'the best cast'. I think a Peters/Lansbury pairing would be the 'most professional', though. But it would feel almost unnatural to pair this, it would be like wanting to see a Sunday pairing with Peters and not Mandy, even though Mandy might not be to everyone's tastes and there could be what is considered a better performer paired with Peters, I think they just "belong together" and wouldn't want to see it mixed with something else.


Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:02 pm
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