A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC a musical play in two acts. Book by Hugh Wheeler, suggested by Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles Of a Summer Night. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Shubert Theatre, Broadway - 25 February, 1973 (601 perfs) London Adelphi Theatre - 15 April, 1975 (406 perfs) Produced at the Shubert Theatre, New York, 25 February 1973 with Len Cariou (Fredrik), Glynis Johns (Desirée) and Hermione Gingold (Madame Armfeldt). Produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 15 April 1975 with Joss Ackland, Jean Simmons and Hermione Gingold. A film version was produced by Sascha-Wien Films, Elliott Kastner and Roger Corman in 1978 with Len Cariou, Elizabeth Taylor, Hermione Gingold and Diana Rigg. SYNOPSIS Act I Before the play proper, a quintet of Lieder Singers vocalises a bewitching Night Waltz, a serenade that hints at all the possibilities and deceptions of the evening ahead in a drama that will be played out in three-quarter time. As the quintet waltzes among the play's protagonists in a kaleidoscope of changing combinations, old partnerships are broken and resumed. The aged Madame Armfeldt, who knows about these things, explains to her granddaughter Fredrika the three smiles of a summer night: the first smile is for the young, like Fredrika, who know nothing; the second for fools, like Fredrika's mother, who know too little; the third for the old - Madame Armfeldt herself - who know too much. We are in Sweden at the turn of the century and at the house of Fredrik Egerman a permanent Nordic frost of sexual frustration seems to have settled. Passion flares, they say, when the time is right, but when is that time? After eleven months of non-consummated marriage to his teenage bride, Fredrik is impatient: he wants her Now. Downstairs, Henrik, the issue of his first marriage, is making fumbling advances to Petra the maid and being repulsed, as always, with the promise of Later. Upstairs again, Fredrik's young wife Anne, no older than her stepson, promises that she will be her husband's ... Soon. Far away, in a swirl of activity, Desirée Armfeldt is leading The Glamorous Lif e - dashing off a note to her daughter and mother before being whisked from one grim lodging to another draughty dressing-room to a meeting of the Hälsingborg Arts Council Amateur Theatre Group. In that evening's entertainment, Desirée plays a woman who can and does have any man she wants. In the Egerman party at the theatre, Anne swears that Desirée is directing her performance at Fredrik alone. Back home, she still cannot love him yet is riven by jealousy at the thought that he might hanker after Desirée. Their affair ended years ago, but the memories still taunt him: Remember? He leaves the house and makes his way to Desirée's lodgings. There is so much to talk about: You Must Meet My Wife, he tells her. She feels little inclination to, but, when Fredrik eventually raises the matter of Anne's indestructible virginity, Desirée is appalled and immediately invites her old flame into the bedroom to end his isolation. Whatever happened, wonders Madame Armfeldt, to Liaisons of style, sophistication and their own courtly code? She can only regret the modern world's descent into the blunt, squalid satisfaction of desire. But, even as they complete their coupling, Fredrik and Desirée are surprised by a visitor, the actress9 current amour, Count Carl-Magus Malcolm. Fredrik is more dishevelled than a quiet drink with an old friend would seem to require. But Carl-Magnus, speaking In Praise of Women, is unperturbed; women practise fidelity, he practises fidelity. too - to Desirée ... and his wife Charlotte. Therefore, as everyone is so faithful, nothing can have happened.