Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera/Music Theatre Workshop's ‘A Little Night Music’

Thursday, September 22, 2016 A Little Night Music rehearsal
by: Tonya Lowentritt

OPERA OPENS SOUTHEASTERN’S FANFARE – The 31st season of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Fanfare will open with Southeastern Opera /Music Theatre’s production of “A Little Night Music” on Sept. 29 and 30 at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Rehearsing for the production are, from left, Anne Labranche of Abita Springs and Rachel Davis and Elizabeth Langley of Mandeville.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present the Broadway musical, “A Little Night Music” on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29 and 30. Scheduled at 7:30 p.m., at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond, the performance is part of Fanfare, the university’s annual fall festival for the arts, humanities and social sciences.
     Set in 1900 Sweden, “A Little Night Music” explores the tangled web of affairs centered around actress Desirée Armfeldt and the men who love her: a lawyer by the name of Fredrik Egerman and the Count Carl-Magnus Malcom, explained Charles Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop. When the traveling actress performs in Fredrik’s town, the estranged lovers’ passion is rekindled. This strikes a flurry of jealousy and suspicion between Desirée; Fredrik; Fredrick’s wife, Anne; Desirée’s current lover, the Count; and the Count’s wife, Charlotte. Both men – as well as their jealous wives – agree to join Desirée and her family for a weekend in the country at Desirée’s mother’s estate. With everyone in one place, infinite possibilities of new romances and second chances bring endless surprises.
     “One of Sondheim’s musical innovations in this show is the use of five singers as a sort of Greek chorus (called the Liebeslieders). Like the Greek chorus from classical Greek tragedy, these singers comment on the dramatic actions of the play, but with song instead of the spoken word,” Effler said.
“Also, the traditional orchestral overture, highlighting tunes from the show, is augmented with this group of singers; there are still tunes from the show, but they are now presented with the lyrics,” he added. “In another innovation, Sondheim draws inspiration from opera -- three characters all sing three different solo songs with completely different moods and melodies. Sondheim then combines them seamlessly into a gorgeous trio.”
     A Little Night Music is full of hilarious, witty and heartbreaking moments of adoration, regret and desire, and contains Sondheim’s popular song, the haunting “Send in the Clowns.”
     Opera Workshop welcomes back guest stage director Ken Goode for this production. Originally from New Orleans, Goode directed Opera Workshop’s performance of “It’s Only Life” three years ago.
     Opera Workshop also welcomes back Southeastern Alumna Kay Schepker and Jane Rownd Wear, both of Hammond. Schepker is the aunt of Wear and said she is looking forward to performing with her niece.
     “We are in a few scenes together. Our characters don’t interact much at all, but I’m enjoying watching her perform her role,” Schepker said. “It’s great to be able to watch her work and see how she’s grown as a singer and actress. Since she completed her graduate school work at Indiana University, I didn’t have the opportunity to see her perform very often. It’s also a fun time for our family to be able to see us both together in a production.”
     The cast for the production includes Rachel Davis (Mandeville) as Desiree Armfeldt; Alfred Harper (New Orleans) as Frederick Egerman; Randi Gaspard (Covington) as Anne Egerman; Terelle Bibbins (Slidell) as Henrik Egerman; Kay Schepker (Hammond) as Madame Armfeldt; Kaylin Guillory (Covington) as Fredrika Armfeldt; Robert Roy (Lacombe) as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm; Morgan Curole (Larose) as Countess Charlotte Malcolm; Jane Wear (Hammond) as Petra; Sarah Cage (Baton Rouge) as Mrs. Nordstrom; Elizabeth Langley (Mandeville) as Mrs. Segstrom; Anne Labranche (Abita Springs) as Mrs. Anderssen; Brandon Wear (Slidell) as Mr. Erlanson; Wesley Newton (Bourg) as Mr. Lindquist; Cody Sires (Chalmette) as Frid; Deondra Bell (Baton Rouge) as Malla; Jeremy Guillot (Denham Springs) as Bertrand; and Mia Gibson (Sulphur) as Osa.
     Effler will serve as musical director and conductor, Department of Fine and Performing Arts faculty members Steve Schepker will design the set and Benjamin Norman will design the lighting. Southeastern students Katie Walker of Marrero and Kayla Rochelle of Destrehan will serve as stage manager and makeup designer respectively.
     Advance tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also be available one hour prior to each performance. Ticket prices are $21 for adults; $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students; and $8 for children 12 and under. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their university ID.
For more information about the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop contact Effler at
     “A Little Night Music,” book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince, is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and all authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019,

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