I’m so excited to get the opportunity to see this show again especially with the same lead actress from the original Broadway production, Alice Ripley. The curtain goes up on the touring production here in DC at the Kennedy Center this coming week. It’s here for a very brief run, only two weeks, so race out and get your tickets now. Shockingly enough there are a fair number of tickets still available, perhaps due to the conflict with the July 4th weekend. My seats are farther to the side orchestra than I prefer but they still have a good line of sight.
This show is a wholly original production created for the stage, it’s not based on a book or a play or the most popular copout of modern Broadway, the movie turned into a musical. The content and music for the show has been developed over several years of readings, workshops and off-Broadway and out of town try outs; its last stop before Broadway was right here at DC’s Arena Stage.
The story is simple and I believe is represents what many families deal with every day. I’m not going into much detail here; I hate to spoil the event for any one still intending to see the show. To summarize, it is the story of a woman and her family and their nearly lifelong struggle to deal with her mental illness and the impact it has on their lives. It’s only a six person cast which is unheard of in most Broadway productions but the show is so tightly constructed and effective more would have been redundant. The show is composed as a Rock Opera (but not in an incomprehensible “Tommy” fashion) and the bulk of the dialog and storytelling is told via song. Don’t expect any dancing, there’s movement and they take advantage of the multi-level set to bring vertical movement to the stage but there will be no kick line or jazz hands. It is quite evident by the narrative that the authors have not so complimentary opinions on modern psychiatric practices and efforts to “normalize” or limit peoples emotional spectrum.
This show falls into the genre of modern shows like “Rent” and “Spring Awakening” and it is actually directed by the director or “Rent.” It’s about human pathos and angst and how it is dealt with or not dealt with as the case may be. As in any good drama it explores the peaks and valleys of human emotion and takes you along for the ride. While I don’t expect to get the same emotional impact as I did the first time, I was a weeping mess at the end of the show but left feeling oddly enervated, I hope this production comes close. The music is wonderful and I listened to the soundtrack over and over again for several months.
You Don’t Know – 2009 Tony Perfromance
Superboy and the Invisible Girl