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Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music enchants theatergoers

Catch up with the romantic lives of Swedish couples in five Bing Theatre performances this week

Everyone knows “Send in the Clowns,” the Stephen Sondheim song with the beautiful melody and puzzling lyrics, but not so many have seen the musical for which it was written.

The musical, A Little Night Music, presented by the USC School of Dramatic Arts, has nothing to do with clowns or a circus. Its theme was suggested by Smiles of a Summer Night, a film by Ingmar Bergman about affairs and lost loves in Sweden.

The production has five more performances this week, from the evening of April 7 through a matinee on April 10.

The Bing Theatre production boasts sumptuous costumes (designed by student Marly Hall), an evocative set (by student Lea Branyan with lighting design by Justus Bradshaw), and a typically demanding Sondheim score sung with ease by actors from the School of Dramatic Arts, the USC Thornton School of Music and the general student population.

Directed and choreographed by Dramatic Arts alumnus Kelly Ward, an actor, producer and director who works for Disney Television Animation, the production features a live orchestra of 23 musicians.

Ward writes in his director’s note that the Sondheim score “is endlessly enchanting. One can listen to the score “over and over and never run out of new discoveries, whether they’re delightfully deft turns of phrase or slyly symbolic musical quotes of the great Romantic composers.”

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