Our fourth Broadway show was actually a British production, yet another Menier Chocolate Factory production transferred to Broadway, 'A Little Night Music'. This was also the show with real stars in it - Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I saw the Choccy Factory production in December 2008 and enjoyed it so was looking forward to seeing what Broadway would do with it.
The thrills started when Angela Lansbury did the 'turn off your phones' announcement at the start, adding that it was annoying to hear people opening sweets so please do that as well ... That was a lovely touch and a ripple of excitement went around the audience - that was a real *star* speaking to us. And then the play started with Hendrick playing his cello and then spoiling it when he started speaking.
This was definitely a play of loves and hates and I'm afraid the two younger cast members who have a lot of interaction in the play fall into the latter category. Unfortunately, for both of them this was their Broadway debuts. The lad had an annoying Texas twang and the girl had shrieking down to a fine art. Everyone else spoke posh (apart from the maid) so how they've been allowed to continue like this is a puzzlement.
Leaving them to one side, the rest of the cast were excellent. Alexander Hanson reprised his role as the leading man with his understated suave charm. Special kudos go to Leigh Ann Larkin as the maid, who I saw in 'Gypsy' two years ago, for her great voice, great presence and great teasing of the annoying Hendrick. She really brough the part to life as, perhaps, the only realist in the play.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was a pleasant surprise to see live. I know she started in the chorus line but I think of her as a film star and she was really good. To give the part her mark she played it slightly on the bawdy side with lots of knowing entendres and she did a great 'Send In The Clowns'. She played the role of the actress and former lover perfectly. And then there was Angela Lansbury who was a star decades before I was born and she *knows* how to play a part to squeeze the maximum enjoyment out of it, and I suspect she enjoyed playing the part as much as we enjoyed watching. She played it for laughs, tipping into incredible sadness at the end - even though I knew what was coming, it was still a shock. Now, *that's* acting.
If you're in the area of Broadway, you really ought to see this show.