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Clifton’s Latest Dark Comedy is the Small Engine that Could

Review by Lissa Gapultos of Small Engine Repair: Clifton Players

he setting of Clifton Performance Theatre’s Small Engine Repair is Frank’s repair shop, which encompasses nearly the entire space of the performance space. Dressed with authenticity – a work bench, steel shelving that contains various mechanical tools, a refrigerator with random magnets– the set also it also has certain tidiness about it. Frank wanders around and through the set during the pre-show, going about closing his shop for the day.

Frank has deceptively summoned his long-time friends Packie and Swaino to his shop after hours. We learn that Frank has raised a daughter on his own after his girlfriend left. Nathan Neorr portrays Frank as a humble, responsible working man with nervous energy, and a great love for his daughter Chrystal. He seems to be the neutral calming force of the three friends.

Packie is the first to arrive, and boy, does he make his presence known. Charlie Roetting’s blustering entrance is a mixture of urgency, concern and the lament of missing a game. Packie is the tech nerd who lives in his grandmother’s basement; unemployed and unambitious, except with regard to technology and social media. Roetting plays him with over-the-top energy and comic simplicity. There’s no doubt that Packie is diehard Boston sports fan, as Roetting gives a vivid and passionate recollection of a legendary baseball game from 1986.

Swaino is the suave “ladies love me” guy of the group. He and Packie have been out of sorts after a seemingly petty disagreement over a cough drop. Swaino dishes out a steady stream of bitter snark just for Packie. Actor Carter Bratton exudes arrogance, condescension, and vanity as Swaino — easy to resent and fascinating to watch.

The trio’s bromantic and alcohol-fueled revelry is interrupted by the arrival of Chad, an Ivy League frat boy that Frank has befriended through basketball. Actor Rupert Spraul plays Chad as laid back and confident. His is a privileged life, and he clearly knows he will always have the upper hand. Chad has very little in common with the three friends, and yet he has no qualms about being out of his element.

The energy ramps up to disturbing and dark level that suddenly throws everything askew, and begs the question: what is the essence of this play? The undying bond of friendship? The follies of youth? Class inequality? Or simply, men behaving badly who finally realize they need to grow up? John Pollono’s script simply ends in a weird and unsatisfying way. Director Jared Doren (who also designed the life-life set) gives his versatile actors effective guidance which results in steady and convincing delivery from all of them – anything from big and bombastic fits of masculinity to pensive moments of reflection about family and the good times of past.

If you enjoy your comedy dark (and this play is very dark) with generous amounts of crude behavior and offensive language, then this cast will take you into the proverbial man-cave in both entertaining and devastating ways. Otherwise, consider this a warning.

Clifton Players’ Small Engine Repair plays at 404 Ludlow Avenue until April 15. For tickets go (quickly) to https://cpt.cincyregister.com/smallenginerepair or call 513.813.SHOW (7469).

Engage your Mind at Incline’s Provocative Equus

Review by Laurel Humes of Equus: Incline Theatre

Be sure to take a thinking person with you to Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre’s production of Equus. You are going to want to discuss this play!

The premise is established early: A 17-year-old boy has blinded six horses with a metal stake. But this is not a random act of cruelty. The play – and Incline’s compelling production – is devoted to psychiatric digging into why he did it.

The play unfolds in acted-out flashback scenes during sessions
between psychiatrist Dr. Dysart (Michael Douglas Hall) and Alan (Christopher Carter). The nondescript boy is the only child of wildly diverse parents. Mother (Martha Slater) is deeply religious and indulgent to Alan. Father (Rory Sheridan) is atheist and a rigid disciplinarian.

Each parent contributes to the story line in their own revelations to Dr. Dysart. But, in a standout scene from Slater, they refuse to take responsibility.

We know what you’re thinking, she tells Dr. Dysart, “whatever happened is our fault. It’s not our fault. It’s the devil,” inside her son.

At the same time, Dr. Dysart is struggling with his own internal demons: professional doubts, a loveless marriage. As he gets Alan to reveal more and more about his secret near-religious devotion to horses and the events that led to the maiming, the doctor actually expresses envy of the boy.

“He has lived a passion. I’m jealous of him,” Dysart says. Psychiatry can “fix” Alan, but what will be left without passion?

The entire cast of Equus, directed by Greg Procaccino, is excellent. But the show does belong to the duel between Hall’s Dysart and Carter’s Alan, as the doctor works to get past the young patient’s locked-down exterior.

Carter nails the adolescent persona, with a high-pitched, petulant voice and emotional mood swings. He builds his character successfully to the powerful climatic scene.

Hall’s portrayal is equally strong, although limited to the confines of a staid, sometimes grumpy professional. We watch has he, too, builds his character to an understanding of his own unhappiness.

Incline’s Equus set of wooden beams suggests horse stables, and the “horses” wear stylized masks, with all other props imaginary and skillfully mimed. Even so, the climactic scene is made so realistically horrifying with sound effects and lighting that I had to close my eyes.

It must also be mentioned that Equus contains a scene played entirely nude by Carter and romantic interest Jill (a very good Hannah Gregory). The nudity is hardly gratuitous, but essential to the plot.

So: Are horses Alan’s gods? Can false gods lead us to commit horrible acts? Can psychiatry (and psychiatric drugs) make us all ‘normal,’ and at what cost?

Discuss!

Equus continues at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater (Incline District, East Price Hill) through April 23. For tickets, call 513-241-6550 or go to www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.

Incline’s Equus Complex and Challenging

Review by Doug Iden of Equus: Incline Theatre


Peter Shaffer’s 1973 masterwork Equus galloped onto the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre Stage this weekend. Named for the Latin word for horse, the play tells the story of a horrific crime committed by a young man who blinds six equines in his care. Psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart (played by veteran actor Michael Douglas Hall) is called in to consult on the case which starts a perilous psychological journey for both men. With strong echoes of Greek Tragedy, Dysart tries to determine why the young man, Alan Strang (strange?), played very convincingly by Christopher Carter, committed this heinous crime.

The play opens with a dialogue from Dysart which breaks normal convention by speaking directly to the audience during which he bemoans ever having met the disturbed young man. Thereafter, normal action takes place but Dysart frequently uses the soliloquy convention to allow the audience to understand his thinking process. The extremely rich dialogue is a major strength of the play but can be difficult to follow at times because of its frequent allusions to Greek mythology and theater. Upon the psychiatrist’s first meeting, he is introduced to an enigma who alternates between silence and babbling nonsensical words or TV jingles. The boy seems dispassionate but that could be a ruse. The doctor’s dilemma is how to break through the self-imposed shell and develop a level of trust with his patient.

The investigation (and it does play like a classic mystery) takes the doctor to Alan’s parents Frank (Rory Sheridan) and Dora (Martha Slater) and to the young lady Jill (Hannah Gregory) with whom he may or may be having an affair. The play flashes rapidly between the present and the past and you need to pay close attention since the scenes blend into each other throughout the play.

Gradually, we find out that Alan has had a passion for horses since he was young. He has the opportunity to work at a stable and, tutored by Jill, becomes emotionally involved with the horses, especially one named Nugget (played stoically by Peter Cutler wearing an equine mask). Alan treats Nugget very sensually and starts to worship the horse as a deity. Alan develops a bizarre, pathological religious obsession with horses which is a major factor in his illness and may be the answer to his cure.

At the same time, we discover that Dr. Dysart is, emotionally, very dispassionate as he describes his platonic relationship with his wife. Dysart’s interest is in ancient Greek culture and philosophy but his passion is as dead as the civilization which he studies. He dreams about being a Greek official who must condone ritual sacrifice which he personally finds untenable.

Consequently, Hall, for the most part, plays Dysart as a remote, almost disembodied character who studies Alan more like a lab rat than a person. However, as Dysart perceives his own shortcomings and frustrations with his diagnosis, Hall’s demeanor becomes increasingly angry and disillusioned. Carter whipsaws between silence, intransigence, passion and anger. The “battle” between doctor and patient is well depicted by the actors. The supporting cast, especially Hannah Gregory, is also very good.

The stark set, designed by Brett Bowling, resembles a new-house construction with only the framing completed. The set functions as a stable, the parent’s house, Alan’s room at the hospital and the entry point onto the main stage which, combined with the lighting and some percussion, creates a surrealistic, abstract setting.

This is a good play but a very challenging one. It investigates the nature of insanity, religion, ritual sacrifice, sexual compulsion, impotence and guilt. The answers are up to the audience. Also note that the play has total male and female nudity which is integral to the play and not done gratuitously.

The play opened in England in 1973 and won a Tony in 1975 with its Broadway debut. There have been many revivals of the play including the recent version starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as Alan plus a movie version starring Richard Burton as Dysart.

Equus appears at the Incline Theater through April 23. For show times and ticket information, check the Cincinnati Landmark Productions website.

Broadway in Cincinnati’s Matilda Shows the Dark Side of Growing Up

Review by Alan Jozwiak of Matilda, The Musical: Broadway in Cincinnati


The search for acceptance by those around you is central to Matilda: the Musical, the latest offering by Broadway in Cincinnati presented by TriHealth.

Based off the Roald Dahl book by the same name, the musical tells the story of Matilda (played in the performance I saw by the wonderful Jaime McLean) who goes to a new school and has to contend with her nemesis, the aptly named Miss Trunchibull (wonderfully played in drag by Dan Chameroy). Added to her woes are her neglectful parents Mr. and Mrs. Wormword (played by Matt Harrington and Darcy Stewart) who berate her by calling her names. They try to steer her away from reading and towards more productive entertainments–like watching the television.

Keeping with the trend this Broadway season to present musicals which have strong performers for their lead roles, Jaime McLean was simply wonderful as one of the three child actors who plays Matilda. McLean is on stage for a majority of the time, singing and dancing her heart out all during that time. Whenever she was on stage, McLean was a bright ray of light in a world that does not respect the talents of her character Matilda.

Also strong was Dan Chameroy as Miss Trunchibull. When Chameroy first came on stage, I almost didn’t realize that he was playing drag; he was so much in character that it took me a moment to recognize that it was a male actor. By the end of the musical, Chameroy really delivers a portrait of a detestable character. Chameroy perfectly captures Trunchibull’s cool detachment as she sends students to the chokey, a form of extreme punishment that is best explained by the actors in the musical.

As for the set, it was stripped down to accommodate quick changes from Matilda’s house, to the library, to her school–and back again. There were some very interesting uses of the set elements given, such as during “School Song” where the cast placed alphabet blocks into the various holes within the school gates. Also the alphabet block motif was reproduced when Matilda visited her local library, a very nice touch.

This musical was a faithful adaptation of the Dahl novel, which could be problematic for younger audience members. The show runs close to three hours long, making it hard for the children seeing it. As an audience member, I also had some difficulties with the child abuse being depicted by the adults. To alleviate those concerns of like audience-members, the actor playing Matilda’s father Mr. Wormood (the wonderfully coiffed Matt Harrington) comes onto the stage at the top of Act II to reassure the audiences that things are okay with the children.

Overall, this is a strong production of a faithful adaptation of a beloved children’s book. People who love the book Matilda and Roald Dahl need to see this musical. Matilda: The Musical runs from April 4-16, 2016 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. For ticketing information, please visit the Broadway in America website.

Broadway in Cincinnati’s Matilda Reminds Us of the Power of Storytelling

Review by Sheldon Polonsky of Matilda the Musical: Broadway in Cincinnati

I suppose everyone has a show or two that comes along just at the right time and so keeps a special place in their heart. One of mine is Matilda. I saw it first in London. I was by myself and feeling a little bit lonely; I had lost my credit card at a restaurant only a half hour before the show, and was cranky and annoyed by the English theatre’s crowded lobby, refusal to seat patrons until about 10 minutes before opening, and having to pay for the equivalent of a Playbill. Distracted and on edge, I was in no mood to be entertained. But then, suddenly, the curtain rose–I was transported to another world and by the end my spirits had lifted. Rest assured, the Broadway touring version of Matilda, now playing at the Aronoff, retains the same magic–so if you want to renew your faith in the power of positive thinking and the possibility of a happy ending against all odds, this is the show for you.

Matilda, based on a beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl, tells the story of a precocious young girl whose prodigious mental gifts are ignored and disdained both her parents and the sinister androgynous headmistress of her school, Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull, former English hammer throwing champion, takes delight in terrorizing the children of her school, Crunchem Hall, whose motto is “Bambinatum est maggitum”: “Children are maggots”. Matilda’s only solace is in her books, telling stories to the enraptured librarian, and her angelic but repressed teacher, Miss Honey, who recognizes her talents but is too timid to do much about it. With the help of her exceptional brain power (and some latent psychokinetic abilities), Matilda manages to change her life and the lives of those around her.

Many of you may remember the movie version of Matilda, a Danny DeVito/Rhea Perlman vehicle which had its own particular joys and flaws. Whatever you may have thought of that movie, don’t let it affect your decision to see Matilda, the Musical, as the latter has a very different sensibility and wisely focuses more on its storytelling and characterizations over its supernatural themes. The musical’s book, by Dennis Kelly, justly won a Tony Award in 2013.

Admittedly, the music, by Tim Minchin, is never going to be part of anyone’s top ten most memorable scores–although a few songs, like “Naughty” and “When I Grow Up”, do stick with you. All of the numbers, however, stand out in their eye-catching choreography filled with constant movement and clever props, whether swings, desks, or trampolines. All are also flawlessly performed by a top-notch cast. The large number of children are all obscenely talented. An old stage adage, attributed to W.C. Fields, is “Never work with children or animals”. I would not want to be a member of the adult chorus in this show who have to compete with the kids’ charm and energy, and who despite their own talent seem to be unable to get out of their shadows. As for Matilda (played by Jamie MacLean at this performance but alternately by Gabby Gutierrez and Jenna Weir)–well, I can’t imagine how one can find a single 11 year old, let alone three, who can anchor a show like this with so much poise, confidence and charisma (not to mention vocal talent). Each of the adult principals get their moment to shine as well: Darcy Stewart as Matilda’s mother in the aptly named “Loud”; her father, Matt Harrington, in the hilarious Act II opener “Telly”; and the lovely Jennifer Bowles as Miss Honey, in the understated “My House”. Of course, the most juicy part goes to Dan Chameroy as Miss Trunchbull. The role is both vocally and physically demanding, and Chameroy alternates between her restrained malevolence and hyperbolic wrath with glee.

But whatever one may think of the story or performances, no one can deny the pure originality and spectacle of the technical design. The base of the set is an alphabetic montage of children’s blocks, which often spell out the motifs of the show in both subtle and not so subtle ways; but whether we are in Matilda’s home, Crunchem Hall, or the Library, no expense is spared on colorful, striking design elements and clever special effects.

Despite its flashiness, however, Matilda the Musical is fundamentally about the joys of stories and story-telling. Its most mesmerizing moments are the recurring scenes of Matilda relating a tantalizing tale of her own creation to the librarian, growing in gradually increasing degrees of realism, authenticity and captivation. In the same way, Matilda rejoices in its own storytelling and is never shy about the power of its own narrative format. Anyone, young or old, who enjoys a great yarn full of gasps of surprise, tugged heart-strings, and larger than life characters, will certainly find joy in her story, and is an experience not to be missed.

Broadway in Cincinnati’s Matilda runs through April 16th at the Aronoff Center. Tickets are available at cincinnatiarts.org or call 513-621-ARTS.

Broadway in Cincinnati’s Matilda is Visually Appealing

Review by Liz Eichler of Matilda the Musical: Broadway in Cincinnati


If you know and love author Roald Dahl and his dark humor, you will appreciate Matilda the Musical, playing at the Aronoff Center, through April 16. It is very dark story, with a few highlights. The show (book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin) is about a brilliant girl who is born to parents who do not love her so she finds solace in books and a friendly librarian. She is sent to a private school, run by a lunatic, but meets a sweet teacher who adores her and her abilities, and with love, Matilda finds strength to stop the bullying and “change her story.”

The highlights of the show are the performances of Matilda (Wednesday night was Jaime MacLean, but also in rotation are Gabby Gutierrez and Jenna Weir), Miss Honey (the sweet Jennifer Bowles), Mr. Wormwood (Matt Harrington), and Miss Trunchbull (Dan Chameroy). MacLean is a powerful force of concentration, with great diction, sharp movements and energy for this two-and a half hour show. Harrington and Chameroy each have wonderful comic timing and great physicality. There are quite a few strong supporting players as well, including the moves of Rudolpho (Stephen Diaz).

The songs aren’t all memorable, but the visuals accompanying them are, as the cast dances with a hospital bed, strollers, party tables, and a pommel horse throughout the show. “School Song” features a unique introduction to the ABCs. The strongest numbers occur in the second act, including the exhilarating “When I Grow Up” with the cast soaring over the front rows in their swings.

However, while the production has strengths in performance, this musical, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, likely in a smaller space, has some translation issues for a U.S. tour. The variety of accents are distracting as it is unclear where it is placed, England or America. The over enunciation of the younger actors helps, but they appear robotic, and a number are quite shrill. There are very English things—from the gym uniforms that look like pajamas to a U.S. audience (including the confused kids next to me), to the jolly intermission music hall number opening the 2nd act (it is fun, but the audience doesn’t understand the break in the 4th wall and performing while the house lights are still on).

The scenery motif is more baby blocks than books, forcing me to question the target audience for this show. Every audience member I asked said they loved it, from the sleepy 4-year-old to the 64-year- old. It has spectacle, music, singing and dancing. It even throws in the supernatural, and has a few surprises that made my neighbor jump. Yet, I would not take my favorite 7-year-old, for the same reason she doesn’t want to see the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie—there is clearly a struggle between good and bad and she just doesn’t want to be forced to watch bad behavior, no matter what the production values.

Tickets are available at cincinnatiarts.org or call 513-621-ARTS.

Laugh and Think at Clifton’s Small Engine Repair

Review by Liz Eichler of Small Engine Repair: Clifton Players

Small Engine Repair is an engaging story, well presented in Clifton Player’s signature immersive space, that spurs enough laughs and discussion on the way home, that you will be glad you got your tickets.

This combination of “Breaking Bad” and “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is an R rated romp through a blue collar meets white collar world, when middle age men encounter a smarmy frat boy (Rupert Spraul). Swaino (Carter Bratton), Frank (Nathan Neorr), and Packie (Charlie Roetting) are friends since childhood, and have each other’s backs. No matter what. Frank gathers them to tests this “no matter what” theory.

The story is strong, and while set in Boston, it could be parts of Philly, Cincy, Bal’more—any place where people grow up in an area so close together that they’ve seen each other’s dirty laundry, literally and figuratively, yet rely on each other every day, breeding a fierce loyalty. You’ve seen the worst, so you accept everyone, warts and all–unless they are different, and violate the connotative rules of the group, or generation. Enter the internet, where for good or bad, private exchanges can go viral, beyond your immediate circle, and that unspoken decent responsibility to each other is replaced by the blind drive to amass a large quantity of connections, without thought of quality or humanity.

The setting is an amazing recreation of a small engine repair shop, by Jared D. Doren, and, as always, every inch of the Clifton space is used. The details of Frank’s dirty nails impressed me and the pre-show music energized the audience, so much that they should sell the “mix-tape.”

Director Jared D. Doren sweeps the story along so swiftly and deftly you’ll be sad to see it end (but that is when you and your friends will begin a hearty discussion, I guarantee). The actors are a great ensemble and present it well, with raw physicality, albeit with uneven Boston accents.

Clifton Players’ SMALL ENGINE REPAIR plays at 404 Ludlow Avenue until April 15. For tickets go (quickly) to https://cpt.cincyregister.com/smallenginerepair or call 513.813.SHOW (7469).

CCM‘s Children of Eden Inspired by the Spark of Creation

Review by Sheldon Polonsky of Children of Eden: UC College-Conservatory of Music

One of the most baffling musical theatre mysteries to me is why Children of Eden, the masterful musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by John Caird, never made it to Broadway or even off Broadway. To me, the score is as consistently brilliant or more than any of Schwartz’s work, and has something to offer over each of his other hits: more cohesive than Godspell, more accessible than Pippin, and more genuine and heartfelt than Wicked. Unfortunately, for now, it seems Children of Eden only survives as an ongoing staple in the community theatre and student production repertoire. Luckily, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music breathes new life into this lovely show (literally) in its studio series this spring.

The plot is a humanistic twist on Genesis: Father (Phillip Johnson-Richardson), a paternalistic and very human figure of God, creates Adam and Eve in his own image as his children to be his family in the Garden of Eden. Although Adam (Bryce Baxter) is satisfied, Eve’s (Ciara Alyse Harris) inevitable yearning for understanding and growth leads her to lose her innocence at the Tree of Knowledge, after which she (and Adam, who chooses to follow her) are exiled to the wilderness. The cycle continues as their son Cain’s (Zack Triska) questioning and desire for exploration leads to conflict and tragedy for his brother Abel (Ej Dohring). In the second act, the cycle begins again with Noah (Gabe Wrobel), as his son Japheth (Stavros Koumbaros) defiantly takes the serving girl, Yonah (Emily Royer), a tainted descendant of Cain, as his wife on the ark with him, angering both Noah and the Father. Will this cycle of control, yearning, defiance and conflict ever be broken?

No synopsis can really do justice to the richness and depth of these characters’ stories. The themes of parenthood, obligation, free will, and forgiveness are deftly interwoven and recast throughout the play, and if it has a flaw it is that it hits us on the head with them again and again without any attempt at subtlety. But no matter, these themes are so fundamental to all of us and the human condition, and the characters so connected to our own lives and feelings, that the emotional resonance is palpable.

Stephen Schwartz’s varied and soaring music heightens the impact. Although the cast of 23 CCM students, who tend to be younger since this is not a MainStage production, may not all yet be quite as vocally confident as their upperclass counterparts, they are more than up for the task. Standouts for me were Bryce Baxter, who effortlessly portrayed Adam’s transition from innocence to cynicism and absolutely nailed the agony of his choice in “World Without You,” and Ciara Alyse Harris, who has to anchor the first half of the show with Eve’s weightier numbers, “The Spark of Creation” and “Children of Eden,” doing so with depth and sincerity. Zack Triska ably brings out Cain’s frustration and yearning in “Lost in Wilderness”, while Emily Royer’s Yonah tugged at our heartstrings in “Stranger to the Rain”. Mention should also be made of Jenny Mollet, who did not have a named part but absolutely brought the house down with her solos in “Wasteland” and “Generations”. Finally, dramatically, I would give kudos to Phillip Johnson-Richardson as the Father. At first I thought he was a little too subdued, but as time went on his restrained, very human portrayal belied the turmoil underneath, Often, I could not take my eyes off of him as he sat observing the action in various degrees of remoteness, and I enjoyed watching his wordless acting choices as he followed his children’s successes and failures. Also, his release of emotion in the finale was probably the most authentic expression of joy on any actor’s face that I have seen in recent memory.

The real standout of the show, however, was the chorus as a whole. Each choral number was a highlight, and it is a tribute to Steve Goers, the music director (who also backed up the music with a single piano) that none of the power of these numbers was lost despite a smaller cast (the original American version had 60) and no orchestra. I do wish the resources of the studio series allowed for a few more instruments or at least some percussion which would have enhanced many of the numbers, especially those related to the animals. If you enjoyed this score, do get a copy of the original cast album and you will get even more appreciation for Stephen Schwartz’s brilliant work. What was lacking in orchestral depth, however, was made up for by the very organic and eye-catching movement and choreography that accompanied many of the numbers.

Children of Eden allows for a great deal of directorial discretion and choices, and director Vince DeGeorge (who also choreographed) had a very Intelligent Design to this show. (Sorry, couldn’t resist). Most often, the parts of Adam/Noah, Cain/Japheth, Eve/Mama Noah and Abel/Shem are cast with the same actors, to emphasize the parallels in their stories. This was not done here, presumably to spread around the parts, and while I missed it to some extent, the reunion of the first act cast actually heightened the emotional impact of the finale significantly. I also worried whether the uniform age of the cast (this is a very generational play, after all) would detract from its impact, but instead it gave it another dimension. These were really a group of storytellers, just bringing to life this story that is core to everyone, not trying to over-portray different ages or circumstances but bringing their own personal experience and emotions to the characters. This was underlined by a small but meaningful directorial choice—all the actors were gathered onstage before the first and second act, just being themselves and interacting with each other and the audience, before gradually merging into the show. In some ways they weren’t actors at all, just human beings sharing their story with the rest of us. Likewise, the costumes were simple, natural clothing, seemingly chosen by the actors to fit their own personality. The set (by Logan Greenwell) was remarkably inorganic, full of human bricabrac like chairs and tables. Perhaps, again, the aim was to remind us how remote we are from Eden right now—Father and Noah even use an Ipad to catalog the animals. The set worked marvelously, and despite its simplicity it had a few tricks up its sleeve, particularly in the second act with a wonderful way to portray the movement and precariousness of the Ark.

Taken as a whole, the CCM cast and crew exceeded my expectations to bring to life one of my most beloved musicals and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. The show only runs one weekend, and there is no opportunity for tickets along the normal channels anymore, but if you want to catch the show Saturday or Sunday you could still show up at the CCM box office early and get on a waiting list, which would likely land you a ticket if you are early enough.