Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’

SO NICE TO COME HOME TO at Cinnabar is an asperous but appealing musical.

SO NICE TO COME HOME TO: A World War II Musical. Music by Richard B. Evens, Lyrics by Kate Hancock, Book by Evans and Hancock. Suggested by two plays by J. M. Barrie. Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma, CA 707-763-8920 or www.cinnabartheater.org. October 26 – November 11.

SO NICE TO COME HOME TO at Cinnabar is an asperous but appealing musical.

Jan Klebe, founder of the often acclaimed Cinnabar Theatre commissioned a musical to have its world premiere in their Petaluma Theater. The result of that commission opened last night under an almost full moon on an exceptional balmy evening with the mostly mature audience anticipating an evening of nostalgia. They were not disappointed as nostalgia sang/rang from the rafters as the music and story crossed the stage apron.

For those of us who lived through the mid-forties when the world was at war and U.S. Bond drives were part of our existence, the nostalgia should have been more compelling. As noted, the subtitle of the play proclaims the “A World War II Musical” and the creators have not led us astray. The play takes place in New York City from Friday September 1 through Sunday through September 3, and a final scene on December 24th 1944. A lot can happen in New York in 3 days and it certainly does in this contemplative musical.

Based on James M. Barrie’s plays The Old Lady Shows Her Medals and The Twelve Pound Look the authors have cleverly interwoven the stories, given it a 1940s look, created songs in the style of that era and selected a very competent local cast. They were also fortunate to have Equity singer and actor Michael McGurk, a seasoned Broadway and roadshow veteran to bolster the cast.

After a rousing opening chorus, via radio, of “We’ll Never Give Up” the story begins. During those turbulent war years every parent, although having serious misgivings, were proud to have a son in the service of our country. Like the Lady in Barrie’s play, childless Kate Downey (Elly Lichenstein), has invented a son serving in Europe and shares her fantasy with her friend Jean (Valentine Osinski) with “He’s Such a Wonderful Boy” and “”My War Too.”

Another friend Al O’Donahu (Stephen Walsh) who entertains at the famous New York Stage Door Canteen has accidently ‘discovered’ 2nd Lt. Kenneth Dowling (Michael McGurk)erroneously assuming he is Kate’s son. When Al brings Kenneth, a Silver Star war hero, to Kate’s apartment the self-deception is compounded (“What Have We Got to Lose?”) for reasons that are made clear later in the play.

The secondary ‘twelve pound look’ plot is introduced when Kate completely by chance meets her former rich husband Harry Sims (powerful baritone Bill Neely) and his new trophy wife Eleanore ( you won’t recognize Valentine Osinski in this dual role). They have an aged butler named Tombs (Michael Van Why) that has been added for humor but to this reviewer is a misstep by the authors. However, when Michael Van Why struts his stuff as “Carmen Miranda” and “Rosie the Riveter” at the Stage Door Canteen he brings the house down. He has to share accolades with scene stealing, full bodied baritone Stephen Walsh as an emcee at the canteen. Another show stopper is an authentic Andrew Sisters style “Uncle Sam Wants You” belted out by the trio of Walsh, Osinski and Van Why.

The story follows a pedestrian course into the second act and Kenneth is given a plaintive solo of what “Heroes” are made of. Kate and Kenneth go on a tour of New York City beginning with “What’s So Great About New York City” before reality kicks in with “Happy Endings”, “I will Come Home to You” and “Empty Spaces.”

The two hour evening, including an intermission, is laudable but has the feeling of a work in progress.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com

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