With nearly a full cast, save for those few on Spring Break, we started “from the top” and were pleased to see that most of the cast have put down their scripts. Some of the players were a bit tentative, but that’s to be expected. “Off book” is a good thing.
We got through the Prologue and the first three scenes with only a little starting, stopping, and restarting. Some of the cast were beginning to use props and Fredrik Eggerman (Tom Murphy of Allen Park) was in costume.
In Scene I, Fredrik, a middle-aged lawyer, sings “Now,” a typical Sondheim song: lots of words, an intricate melody, and an equally intricate accompaniment. In the song, Fredrik is attempting to decide on a strategy that will lead to a consummation of his eleven month long marriage to Anne, his eighteen year old wife, who is a virgin.
Costumes enter into the picture as Fredrik is undressing for bed during the song. His hobbling about as he removes his trousers and other clothing adds a dimension of visual humor to the already very humorous lyrics.
“Now” is followed by “Later,” sung by Henrik, Fredrik’s eighteen year old son (Michael Suchyta of Dearborn) who is hopelessly in love with Anne. Henrik accompanies himself on the cello as he sings about how nothing ever happens in his life with things getting put off until “later” and how he’ll be ninety and on his deathbed before they do.
“Later” is followed by “Soon” sung by Anne (Lindsey MacDonald of Canton) in which she promises that “soon she won’t shy away.”
To conclude the interlude, Sondheim brings all three songs together in a wonderful trio of melody and counter-melody that ends with the Fredrik’s unconscious revelation that his true love is his former mistress, the actress, Desiree Armfeldt (Sally Goodman of Dearborn).
It was a good rehearsal, the second half of which was devoted to the “Night Waltz” of the show’s opening sequence. Volunteer choreographer, Janeen Bodary was on hand to assist Director Harold Jurkiewicz in staging the dance which features lots of partner switching as cast waltzes to Sondheim’s lush melody. A bunch of starts and stops. A lot of waiting around. Spectacular as it comes together.