'Little Night Music' Revival Keeps It All In The Family The first Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's classic A Little Night Music opens Dec. 13. And alongside its bold-name cast members — Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angela Lansbury — is Broadway newcomer Ramona Mallory. Her debut as the ingenue continues a family legacy: Her mother created the role in 1973, and her father played the character who falls for hers.
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'Little Night Music' Revival Keeps It All In The Family

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'Little Night Music' Revival Keeps It All In The Family

'Little Night Music' Revival Keeps It All In The Family

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Tonight, the first revival of Steven Sondheim's classic musical, "A Little Night Music," opens on Broadway. It stars Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta Jones and multiple Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury. But it's the Broadway debut of ing�nue Ramona Mallory - that reporter Jeff Lunden found intriguing.

(Soundbite of music)

JEFF LUNDEN: "A Little Night Music" is an elegant, sophisticated musical based on an Ingmar Bergman film all about mismatched lovers. When it debuted in 1973, Victoria Mallory played Anne, the young bride of a middle-aged lawyer named Frederick, played by Len Cariou. Frederick's son, Henrik, played by Mark Lambert, is hopelessly in love with his stepmother. And at the end of the play, the two declare their love and run off together. Got it? Well, Mark Lambert says sometimes life imitates art.

Mr. MARK LAMBERT (Actor): During the run, when we were becoming best friends, Vicki was dating Len Cariou, Frederick. And ultimately, of course, she ran off with Henrik. So, the buzz was that anyone who really knew the show took great pleasure to say, have you heard? Henrik and Anne have run off together.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LAMBERT: Which is, of course, a line from the show.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. RAMONA MALLORY (Actor): (Singing) Soon, I promise. Soon, I won't shy away. Dear old...

LUNDEN: Lambert and Mallory have been married ever since, and very soon -tonight in fact - their daughter, Ramona, makes her Broadway debut in the role her mother created.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MALLORY: (Singing) (unintelligible) now. When a cloud...

LUNDEN: And mom and dad are overjoyed.

Ms. VICTORIA MALLORY: It's just an absolute fairytale. There are simply no words to truly describe what it feels like. This is her role, and she's made it her own, and it's just thrilling.

Mr. MALLORY: The single most extraordinary thing to me � and yet not extraordinary, knowing Ramona � is that I observed no point of intersection between Victoria's performance and Ramona's performance. It was entirely different.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. R. MALLORY: (Singing) ...can't think of how I adore you. Think of how much you love me.

LUNDEN: Ramona Mallory has had one of the best voice teachers in the business � her mother Victoria Mallory � for most of her life. But she says the cast album wasn't something that played very much in her house when she was growing up, and she didn't really know the show.

Ms. R. MALLORY: During the rehearsal process, and as I was reading the script initially, I could hear the way she would do it in my head. And so I found that, so it may have been influential in, you know, my subconscious. It wasn't necessarily something that was most prominent for my acting choices.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. R. MALLORY: (Singing) Every day a little dead, every day a little dead. In the park or in the (unintelligible). On the lips and in the eye...

LUNDEN: Still, even as she made the part her own, Ramona Mallory says she worked with her mother on the music and asked her father to tell some of his stories about performing in the original production of "A Little Night Music."

Ms. R. MALLORY: So, having my family, you know, not only be a part of the theater, but part of this wonderful show, is that, you know, it's literally in my blood. It's there for me to remind me of how connected I am with this particular piece, which is why it's so wonderful that I'm making my Broadway debut in it.

LUNDEN: And Victoria Mallory and her husband Mark Lambert will be sitting in the audience at the Walter Kerr Theater tonight.

Ms. V. MALLORY: We will be holding hands, and I'll probably be crying before the curtain goes up. So happy; such a beautiful, beautiful experience. And we will be so proud to be there and so happy for our daughter.

LUNDEN: For NPR News, I'm Jeff Lunden in New York.

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