“A Little Night Music" - Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler - Greater Worcester Opera at Calliope Productions (Boylston, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The “Liebeslieder Quintet”: Leslie Jacobson Kaye, Brendan Mahoney, Lindsey BuccellaConnell Benn and Ben Morse from "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh WheelerGreater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“In a world where the kings are employers, where the amateur prevails and delicacy fails to pay...In a world where the princes are lawyers, what can anyone expect except to recollect..."

     - (“Madame Armfeldt”) / Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim 

Greater Worcester Opera

at Calliope Productions 

Presents the Stephen Sondheim Musical


Book by Hugh Wheeler

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 

Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick

Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman

Stage Director Richard Monroe 

Music Director Aldo Fabrizi 

Choreography Elaine Crane 

Cast Includes: Brad Amidon as “Frederik,” Elaine Crane as “Desiree,” Martha Warren as “Madame Armfeldt,” Isabel Coviello as “Frederika,” James Lamoureux as “Frid,” Theresa Egan as “Anne,” Chris Van Liew as “Henrik,” Jeanine Went as “Charlotte,” Ramsey Kurdi as Carl-Magnus,” Amanda Lanza as “Petra,” Connell Benn as “Mrs. Nordstrom,” Lindsey Buccella as “Mrs. Anderson,” Leslie Jacobson-Kaye as “Mrs. Segstrom,” Brendan Mahoney as “Mr. Erlanson,” Ben Morse as “Mr. Lindquist,” Sarah Mo,bourquette as “Maia,” Brooke Mega as “Osa.”

Additional Creative Team:

Stage Manager - Katelyn Geary; Intimacy Choreographer – Katelyn Geary; Executive Producer - Elaine Crane; Scenic Design - Richard Monroe; Set Construction and Painting - Charles Crane; Additional Set Work - Elaine Crane, Emily Crane; Costume Design and Construction - Elaine Crane; Wardrobe Coordination & Management— Carol Leschke, Elaine Crane; Additional Costume Rental – Valley Light Opera; Lighting Design - Dave Ludt; Makeup Design - CAST; Hair Design - Carol Leschke; Wig Dressing and Hair Styling - Carol Leschke & CAST; Props Design & Construction - Elaine Crane; Photography - Laura Crane; Program Design - Elaine Crane; Social Media Marketing - Connell Benn, Elaine Crane; Stage Crew - CAST.

Accompanist and Pit Pianist - John Leslie; Cello - Caroline Reiner-Williams; Auxiliary Keyboardist - Ginny Bailey; Clarinet - Dylan Goral.  


June 6, 2024 through June 9, 2024

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)   

Calliope Theatre, 150 Main Street, in Boylston, MA. 





Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

For a limited (and long-awaited) return engagement, Greater Worcester Opera (GWO) offers “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC” and some merriment at Calliope Productions theatre in Boylston

Now over a half-century old, the Stephen Sondheim score enhances the musical farce in the show’s book by Hugh Wheeler

Several members of the GWO cast are actually reprising roles they portrayed when the show was first presented at Stageloft Repertory Theater in Sturbridge back in March of 2020

The second weekend of “...NIGHT MUSIC” performances were canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic shutdown. 

Now, four years later GWO returns, this time at the Calliope space in Boylston, to finish a journey that began so strongly four years ago. 

First, let’s go back a little further to the original production of “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC” which was directed by the legendary Harold Prince featuring choreography by Patricia Birch

The Sondheim-Wheeler “...NIGHT MUSIC”  made its debut on Broadway in February, 1973 where it ran for 601 performances and 12 previews

The original Broadway cast included the great Glynis Johns as “Desiree.” (Johns passed away this past January at age 100). 

The original production would go on to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical

The musical has been revived numerous times with a concert scheduled at Lincoln Center for the end of THIS month. 

However, why go all the way to New York to see some “scaled back” concert version when you can find a solid staging of the entire production right here in your own back yard, with GWO over in Boylston, Massachusetts

GWO director Richard Monroe has done an admirable job maximizing the stage space at Calliope with multi-purpose sets allowing for smoother scene transitions. 

As mentioned, it is truly the score by Sondheim which elevates the otherwise trite farcical book by Hugh Wheeler, concerning several miscreant characters and the people they hurt through their actions. 

(Photo: Martha Warren as “Madame Armfeldt” with Isabel Coviello as “Frederika” in a scene from the musical, "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, from Greater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

Beginning with elderly and wheelchair bound Madame Armfeldt (Martha Warren) who is annoyed at the scandalous behavior by her famous actress daughter, Desiree (Elaine Crane), whose is unapologetic when flaunting her many affairs with men, married or otherwise. 

Crane is persistently entertaining as Desiree and her vocal prowess is equaled by her comedic timing. 

Yet, conversely, just as she did back with GWO in 2020, she still manages to bring the audience close to tears with her heartfelt rendition of the musical’s iconic song, “Send in the Clowns. 

Madame shares her world-weary ways and cynical views of her daughter with Fredrika (Isabel Coviello), Desiree’s daughter left in her care at her estate while Desiree tours. 

(Photo: Elaine Crane as “Desiree” in a scene from the musical, "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, from Greater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

Coviello shines as the wide-eyed Fredrika who seems to see the best in people even when they cannot seem to see it themselves. 

She also is able to point out - to the more obtuse characters -those things which would make them happy, even though those things have been right there in front of them the whole time. 

Warren is absolutely committed to the character of Madame, who recalls her own worldly dalliances in the melancholy, “Liaisons.”  

This is one moment among many in the GWO musical which will have folks riveted. 

One of Desiree’s admirers is the recently married lawyer, Fredrik Egerman (Brad Amidon). 

Fredrik is married for less than a year (11 months) to a woman half his age, Anne (Theresa Egan). 

Anne is closer to the age of his troubled seminary student son, Henrik (Chris Van Liew), who not-so-secretly yearns for virginal Anne. 

(Photo: Brad Amidon as “Frederik,” Theresa Egan as “Anne,” and Chris Van Liew as “Henrik” in a moment from the musical, "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, from Greater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

Amidon gives a thoroughly proficient, sympathetic performance as Fredrik who absolutely should not be sympathized for his mid-life crisis nor his sexual frustration, although both are perfectly illustrated in the song “Now (Just a reminder – 11 months). 

As his libido gets the best of him, Fredrik meets with Desiree. 

While trying to praise his young wife in the amusing duet “You Must Meet My Wife, some lyrical backhanded compliments creep in, pinpointing certain frustrations as Desiree makes repeated references to her aligned immaturity. 

Their tryst is interrupted by another of Desiree’s lovers, dragoon and duel enthusiast Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm (Ramsey Kurdi) who is enraged when he discovers Fredrik with his highly prized mistress. 

Kurdi has a powerful, commanding voice and gives a convincing portrayal of the loutish Count who derides all women in the ironically titled “In Praise of Women.   

Jeanine Went is a scene stealer as the caustic and bitter “Countess Charlotte Malcolm” who comes up with the ingenious idea of seducing Fredrik to get back at her loutish husband. 

It is an absurd scheme in which she fully confides with young Fredrik’s young bride, who also thinks it is a simply brilliant plan (being only half right). 

(Photo: The “Liebeslieder Quintet”: Leslie Jacobson Kaye, Brendan Mahoney, Lindsey Buccella, Connell Benn and Ben Morse from "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh WheelerGreater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

Affected by their actions are several innocents, including Fredrika, whose only fault is that she thoroughly adores both her jaded grandmother and her absent mother. 

Also impacted are Anne and Henrik, each of whom shares the terrible trait of naiveté. 

The above is particularly illustrated in the two “companion songs” to Amidon’s “Now,” “Soon,” sung well by Egan - and “Later,” sung exceptionally well by Van Liew, who has an extraordinary voice in a show with many extraordinary vocalists. 

The duo are subsequently punished for their sins, or rather, their lack of sinning. Van Liew, as Henrik, also gives a layered performance. 

Henrik struggles between trying to appease his father, trying to learn and align himself to the written “Word” and, mostly, trying to curtail his own physical needs and his “forbidden” love for Anne. 

All of this serves as an elongated Act One prologue to the events of Act Two, culminating to several moral realizations by the sordid cast of characters. 

Supporting GWO performances worthy of note include James Lamoureux as “Frid,” man servant to Madame Armfeldt; and Amanda Lanza as “Petra.” 

Petra, especially, is a feisty, flirty character and a sexy comedic foil for both Henrik and Anne.

However, in a surprising hard detour in the show's second act, Petra is given a moment to shine as she sings the unexpectedly poignant song, “The Miller’s Son. 

While the above song serves more as a brief diversion to help set up for the rest of the story, it provides insight to those who cater to and serve the more affluent yet obscenely outlandish characters. 

The acting by the ensemble equals their vocal acuity which is exceptional across the board. 

Throughout the show, serving as the highly entertaining “Liebeslieder Quintet” are: Connell Benn, Lindsey Buccella, Leslie Jacobson Kaye, Brendan Mahoney and Ben Morse. 

The musicians under the direction of Aldo Fabrizi included players on piano, cello, clarinet and an auxiliary keyboardist and all executed the score flawlessly. 

(Photo: Theresa Egan as “Anne” in a scene form the musical, "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, from Greater Worcester Opera now playing through June 9, 2024 at Calliope Productions in Boylston, MA. Photo Credit Laura Crane)

Costumes in general were perfectly suited to the time period. 

Choreography was limited due to spacing but fortunately was kept to a minimum.

With our days constantly filled with our own individual and collective troubles and strife, it is nice to be able to sit back and enjoy some finely executed comedy and "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC."

This limited engagement return of GWO's "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" only plays at Calliope Productions in Boylston until June 9th, so do not miss out on experiencing this highly entertaining production.

For tickets, visit www.greaterworcesteropera.org/tickets


Approximately two hours, 45 minutes with one intermission.  

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




In turn of the century Sweden, trysts abound. Lawyer Fredrik Egerman has married the virginal 18-year-old Anne, with whom Fredrik’s son, the melancholy academic Henrik, has fallen in love. 

Desiree Armfeldt, a stage actress of great beauty (and a reputation for taking on as many lovers as she does theatrical roles) is involved with the buffoonish Count Carl Magnus Malcolm, the husband of the cynical and wryly comedic Countess Charlotte Malcolm. 

When Desiree spots her old flame Fredrik Egerman in the audience of her most recent production, however, her interest in him is immediately rekindled. 

All parties meet for a “Weekend in the Country” at Desiree’s mother, Madame Armfeldt’s, estate, where the tangled web of romantic involvements continues to surprise us with its twists and turns. 

Featuring the classic song “Send in the Clowns” and a beautiful, lush score, "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSICis a story of love, nostalgia, regret, and the magic of music on a summer’s night.


GREATER WORCESTER OPERA (GWO) is a regional opera company based in Central Massachusetts.  A non-profit organization, GWO produces mainstage opera, concerts, touring opera for students, and a variety of other musical events utilizing the talents of the area's finest professionally trained singers and musicians.