The night smiles three times

Hillbarn-night-music-MKitaoka_130507_3906By Ande Jacobson

Hillbarn Theatre Company’s latest offering is A Little Night Music which opened on Friday, 10 May.  This highly acclaimed Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical, suggested by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, follows the lives and loves of several mismatched couples in early 20th Century Sweden.  As Sondheim recalls in his memoir Finishing the Hat, director Harold Prince once described A Little Night Music as “whipped cream with knives.”  An apt description as the plotline is both sweet and sharp.  Sondheim claims he focused on the knives and spent his energy pursuing his dream of writing a “Theme and Variations,” in this case, using a metric theme, or more specifically a triple-meter theme exploring the myriad options available to him beyond the waltz. Continue reading

Sister and brother, mother and son, and a journey through time

johnjensliderimagelrgBy Ande Jacobson

Hillbarn Theatre’s latest offering, John & Jen, is best described as a chamber musical.  Written by Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald, the show calls for two actors and three musicians to bring the audience the winding story of Jen Tracy and the two Johns in her life.  Alicia Teeter plays Jen, and William Giammona plays her baby brother and her son, both named John.  The story covers almost 40 years from 1952 to 1990, and as the plot unfolds, we see humor, pathos, and drama, all in slightly less than 2 hours.  In the beginning, Jen is 6 and her baby brother is a newborn.  At the end, she’s 44 and her son is 18 and just getting ready to start college. Continue reading