Sir Trevor Nunn is to direct a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory this Christmas, opening on 3 December after previews from 22 November.
A six-times Tony Award-winning musical when it opened on Broadway in 1972, Sondheim’s A Little Night Music is a fairy tale musical in waltz time. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles Of A Summer Night, the story is set in turn-of-the-century Sweden where affairs of the heart are uppermost in the thoughts of four mismatched couples over a midsummer weekend. The romantic story is played out to a score which includes the well-known songs The Glamorous Life, Liaisons and Send In The Clowns.
A Little Night Music received its London premiere at the Adelphi in 1975 and has been revived twice in the capital since then; in 1989 at the Piccadilly and again in 1995 at the National Theatre, where the cast included Sian Phillips, Joanna Riding, Laurence Guittard, Patricia Hodge and Judi Dench as Desiree. Dench went on to win Best Actress in a Musical at the 1996 Laurence Olivier Awards – a double celebration for the actress as she also picked up the Best Actress prize for another National Theatre production, Absolute Hell.
New York-born Sondheim is one of musical theatre’s most influential composers. Among his many credits are the shows A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Company, Follies, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday In The Park With George, Into The Woods, Assassins and Passion.
Four-times Laurence Olivier Award-winning director Nunn was last in London directing the short-lived new musical adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind at the New London. A former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, Nunn’s extensive body of work includes Nicholas Nickleby, Les Misérables, My Fair Lady, Starlight Express, Chess, Oklahoma!, Sunset Boulevard, Porgy And Bess, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia and Rock ‘N’ Roll and a plethora of Shakespearean productions, including Richard II and Hamlet at the Old Vic.
No casting has yet been announced for this revival of A Little Night Music, which will be choreographed by Lynne Page and designed by David Farley, both Menier regulars who collaborated on previous productions Little Shop Of Horrors and La Cage Aux Folles (a reconceived version of which transfers to the Playhouse this October). Along with co-designer Timothy Bird, Farley won the 2007 Best Set Design Laurence Olivier Award for his designs for another Sondheim musical produced by the Menier, Sunday In The Park With George.
A Little Night Music opens following a production of John Webster’s The White Devil, which has a short run at the Menier from 3 October to 15 November. The theatre’s current production, They’re Playing Our Song, ends its run on 28 September.