Posted by Amy on March 26, 2005
In Reply to: Send in the Clowns - clarification posted by Ward on March 16, 2005
Can anyone shed some light on the origin of the phrase, and the detail of its meaning?
I can help you find the meaning of the phrase pertaining to the characters the song was written for. Sondheim wrote this song for his musical "A Little Night Music" in the 70's. Sondheim wrote this song with in mind that Glynis Johns would be playing Desiree in his musical. When Desiree sings this song it is towards the end of the show. Short synopsis of the show: Desiree had a love
affair with Frederick long ago. Frederick married a much younger woman who won't have sex with him. Frederick and the woman go to the theatre see Desiree performing, and Frederick remembers his love affair with Desiree. He goes to ask her for sex since he can't get it from his wife. They reconnect, and Desiree realizes she wants to finally settle down and raise her daughter "Fredrika" with Frederik as the father. She invites Frederik and his family to the county. Desirees lover is very jealous so he and his wife barge in on their weekend as well. Caos occurs and when Desiree gets Frederik alone, she tells him she wants to settle down and be with him, but Fredrik doesn't can't leave his wife. Crushed Desiree sings "Send in the Clowns". My take is that in all the caos and drama and sadness that they can't be together, they should send in the clowns to sheep matters up.