facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

15 April 1975: Sondheim plays A Little Night Music

First Published 23 April 2008, Last Updated 25 September 2008

Stephen Sondheim’s new musical A Little Night Music had already been a Tony Award-winning success on Broadway in 1973 when Harold Prince recreated his production in London two years later. It opened at the Adelphi theatre on 15 April 1975.

Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles Of A Summer Night, Sondheim’s romantic musical about mismatched love centres on middle aged lawyer Frederik, his much younger wife Anne and his ex-lover, actress Desiree. While Desiree is having an affair with Count Carl-Magnus, who in turn is married to Charlotte, Frederik’s son Henrik is in love with Anne, his stepmother. Sondheim’s score includes the songs The Glamorous Life, Liaisons and Send In The Clowns. The book is by Hugh Wheeler.

Hermione Gingold, who created the role of Madame Armfeldt on Broadway, brought her performance over the pond for the 1975 British premiere production, in which she was joined by Jean Simmons as Desiree, Joss Ackland, David Kernan, Liz Robertson and Diane Langton.
Following the London premier production and a 1978 film version starring Elizabeth Taylor, A Little Night Music has been revived twice in London; first in 1989 at the Piccadilly, starring Lila Kedrova, Dorothy Tutin, Peter McEnery and Susan Hampshire, and then in  1995 at the National Theatre. Sean Mathias’s production starred Sian Phillips, Joanna Riding, Laurence Guittard and Patricia Hodge, along with the versatile Judi Dench as Desiree. In the 1996 Laurence Olivier Award ceremony Dench demonstrated her considerable talents by not only winning Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in A Little Night Music but also claiming the Best Actress prize for another National Theatre production, Absolute Hell.

New York-born Sondheim is acknowledged as one of musical theatre’s most important and influential composers of all time with a multitude of Tony and Laurence Olivier Award wins and nominations to his name. As a composer and lyricist his credits before A Little Night Music include A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company and Follies. After 1973 he went on to write The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, the anthology Side By Side By Sondheim, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday In The Park With George (for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1984), Into The Woods, Assassins, Passion and Bounce. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy and Do I Hear A Waltz? and has written music for film and television, winning a Best Song Academy Award in 1999 for Sooner Or Later from the film Dick Tracy.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.