Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Tuck Everlasting"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Larry Stark


"Tuck Everlasting"

Story by Natalie Babbitt
Book, Music & Lyrics by Harold Bakken
Directed by Jane Staab Orchestrated & Arranged by Musical Director Jonathan Goldberg

Set Design by Thomas Joswick
Lighting Design by Russ Swift
Choreography by Andrea Doane & Ilyse Robbins
Costume design by Costumes by Illusion
Production Stage Manager Andrea T. Healy

Mae Tuck...............................Robin Alison
Angus Tuck..........................Michael Saenz
Grandmother Foster.........Cheryl McMahon
Mrs. Foster...........................Andrea Lyman
Mr. Foster.................................Dan Lyman
Winnie Foster......................Andrea C. Ross
Constable.........................................Mansur
The Man in The Yellow Suit...Robert Saoud
Jesse Tuck..................................Brian Nash
Miles Tuck.................................Scott Davis
Know-It-All Boy.................Jacob Liberman
Boy........................................Jared Spencer
TOWNSPEOPLE
Jordan Ashwood, Russell Berrigan, Douglas Carter. Andrew Doolittle, Yahanna Faith, Annie Giddings, Harold Hector, Jr., Andrea J. Johnson, Mariko Kanto, Jamie Kearney, Katherine Moore, Christine Pardilla, Ilyse Robbins, Roland Hayes Robinson, Gregory Stuart, Mary Szpak, Kate Tellers
MUSICAL ENSEMBLE
Keyboard................................Jonathan Goldberg
Reeds...........................Karen Dickson/Louis Toth
Violin......................Peter Hughes/Ricardo Slevira
Trombone/Horn.....Ed Ackerman/Harlan Feinstein
Percussion.......................................Peter Himmer

Perhaps if I'd read, and loved Natalie Babbitt's story "Tuck Everlasting" at a very early age, it might be different. Everyone connected with the Wheelock Family Theatre obviously did, and their theatrical talent and expertise is evident in every smallest detail of this lovingly crafted revival. The chorus of townspeople --- divided into pompous elders, nervous parents, and impish kids --- all move, pivot, and react as though parts of a precisely tuned watchworks, just as Choreographers Andrea Doane and Ilyse Robbins dictate. The acting from a dozen principals is crisply understated, just as Director Jane Staab intended. Harold Bakken's Book, Music and Lyrics are lyrically and movingly sung, and Orchestrations and Arrangements from Musical Director Jonathan Goldberg's cast and orchestra are a note-perfect delight. I just found the fantasy holding the plot together unbelievable.
Maybe if I were younger.....

For those like me who never read the original, the setting is a small (and admittedly boring) town in the socially-stratified '90s still surrounded by virgin forest. Inside that wood, though, is a spring the waters of which will make anyone immortal and ageless --- and a family (and their off-stage horse) who did drink from it 87 years before, and have been hiding ever since. Their youngest son, though 104, is still seventeen years old, and there's a stranger in a bright yellow suit wants to get rich bottling and selling that miraculous elixir of eternal life. These Tucks think it wrong to let a child drink and freeze herself at eight forever, and will do anything to keep the sharpie from infecting the world with immortality.

Well, it is lovingly, movingly, humanly told.
Maybe, if I were younger.....

Love,
===Anon.


"Tuck Everlasting" (1 - 24 February)
WHEELOCK FAMILY THEATRE
180 the Riverway, BOSTON
1(617) 734-4760 1(617) 879-2147


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