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A Little Night Music

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,120 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A musical boasting such numbers as Send in the Clowns.
Paperback, 129 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Nick Hern Books (first published November 30th 1973)
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A Little Night Music is a classic romantic comedy, a collaboration between the writer Hugh Wheeler and the composer Stepehn Sondheim. It is possibly Stephen Sondheim's most famous piece. Sadly, it's not really my cup of tea. The performance I saw was this one at the National Theatre in London during September 1995. The stellar cast included:

Madame Armfeldt - Siân Phillips.
Desirée Armefeldt - Judi Dench (who spoke her part rather than sang it)
Fredrika Armfeldt - Claire Cox
Mr Erlanson - John Owen-
Sep 01, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently saw an excellent professional production of “A Little Night Music” so I decided to read it, because I knew the libretto and Sondheim’s lyrics would be worth reexamining. I was correct in that assumption. Reading it made me appreciate the performance I had seen even more.
The libretto (book) by Hugh Wheeler is one of the best I have encountered in a musical. Good characterization, a nice flow from scene to scene, and unlike the book of many musicals, the story feels complete with the so
Callie Rose Tyler
This is the first time I've ever READ a musical. This one might be particularly difficult to appreciate since it seems several of the songs involve characters singing over one another.

The second half of the book felt a bit trite as everything turns out exactly as you expect, I guess when it comes to Sondheim I expect something a little out of the ordinary (Into the Woods/Sweeney Todd).

I enjoyed the dialogue and the lyrics but I think I will have to listen to the soundtrack to make a final judgem
Feb 23, 2010 Alexa rated it it was amazing
I loved this play. I've heard the soundtrack my entire life (I always associate the music with trips to my grandma and grandpa's house, as that's where I've heard it most). I saw it on the West End in May and cried throughout the production, not because it is sad, but because of my emotional attachment to the music. I bought to text at the Royal National Theatre Company's bookstore and was having difficulty getting through the last book I was reading, so I picked this up instead because I knew I ...more
Tirzah Eleora
If I were rating this book merely on the form and style I would give it at least 4 stars. It's very well structured. I particularly like how Sondheim uses the songs to advance the story and unfold the characters to us. In many musicals (love them though I do) the songs can feel as though they are just tucked in for fun, but they don't actually contribute to the story in any way; Sondheim knew how to fully utilize the musical as a medium of storytelling. The song "Night Waltz" is a personal favor ...more
Oct 23, 2016 Anjum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I love the unique characters, but as of right now, it's a little hard for me to get behind some aspects of the storyline. Mostly just the strangeness of Anne and Fredrick's marriage. However, the lyrics are predictably amazing--Sondheim really at his best here, especially with Now, Later, Soon.

Each character is a real person, flawed, but most are still likeable in some way. Anne is very naive and somewhat annoying, but loving. Fredrick is, let's face it, a little gross in marrying Anne, but he a
Dec 29, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just came back from seeing this show on Broadway (Angela Lansbury!). Reading the libretto let me appreciate the very clever lines I'd missed in the flutter of the large multi-person numbers, e.g. "My boots! Pack everything I own / That shoots." I was delighted to find that the introduction describes the play from the orchestrator's vantage point, novel for me, and the perfect way to get into the nitty-gritty of the music.
Dec 06, 2016 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars for the book, which easily goes to five with Sondheim's music. This adapts Bergman, combining a waltz musical with a country weekend sex comedy. This is a story for sophisticated readers, made into something special by a great set of songs from Sondheim's heyday.
Richard Steinberg
May 20, 2016 Richard Steinberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful play. Reminiscent of a Shakespearian Comedy. People are in relationships that don’t seem to go together. This is a great way to develop frank and funny dialog. Unlike Shakespeare there is the music of Sondheim. Like Shakespeare the couples all resolve properly.
Isaac Ehrlich
Nov 28, 2016 Isaac Ehrlich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have listened to the soundtrack multiple times, and now I have read the play. I was not sure if I should have given this four of five stars for good writing, songs, and a risqué story that actually works for me. I recommend this to any Sondheim or musical theater fan.
Jack Hrkach
Aug 14, 2015 Jack Hrkach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only have I read it, I've been in it - Frederick - and I was very good! Heh heh - Sondheim has been rocking us for so many years - but of all his brilliant musicals, this and Sweeney Todd are my very favorites.
Jan 08, 2017 SaraKat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the printed version of the musical. I've never heard it, but read the book after hearing one song on a broadway cd. Now I want to see the musical! It's a fun romantic comedy.
Jul 31, 2015 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having only heard the music and never seen a production, I bought this book to get the full story, which is terrific.
Jan 29, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite musical. Grown up and clever. The book is great, too.
Apr 28, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based upon Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night," this is a classic with some of the most beautiful music in theatre history, in my opinion.
Lorma Doone
May 12, 2013 Lorma Doone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, books-i-own
Reading Sondheim librettos is a different experience from seeing performances of Sondheim shows. This piece is brilliant and full of catching sexual energy, set to a dreamlike waltz.
Margarida Afonso
Jan 24, 2017 Margarida Afonso rated it really liked it
For a better experience, you can accompany your reading with the original Broadway soundtrack.
Nov 17, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, worked-on
I was Frederika in this. It is a lovely Sondheim romp. The story's good too!
Rochelle Barozzi
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Aug 28, 2015
Kimberly Wallahan
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Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American musical and film composer and lyricist, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards (seven, more than any other composer), multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. He has been described by Frank Rich in the The New York Times as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater." His most famous scores include (as composer/ ...more
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