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Big River

a Musical
by Mark Twain, William Hauptman, music by Roger Miller

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center
ID# 3992

SHOWING : May 06, 2011 - May 22, 2011



Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller
Play by William Hauptman
Based on Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

Though trying to stay "respectable," Huckleberry Finn, runs into trouble when his father, Pap, returns to town. Huck is forced to fake his own death to escape and joins up with another on the run - Jim, a slave in the search for freedom. As they head down the river, they get sucked into scams involving two "aristocrats," one of which lands Jim in chains once again and Huck and Tom Sawyer join together to free him.

Director Tanya Carroll
Sound James Beck
Choreographer Gary Casten
Lighting Brandi Kilgore
Lighting Design Gary L White
Harmonica Bob Smith
Young Fool, Man on Raft Chris Brooks
Susan Wilkes Emily Brooks
Duke Jason Caldwell
Joann Wilkes Anna Caldwell
Mary Jane Wilkes Allie Carroll
Andy Sam Casey
Mark Twain, Doctor Sean Casey
Counselor Robinson, Silas Phelps, Loafer John Connel
Simon, Lafe and various townspeople Matthew Connel
Pap Finn, Townsperson/Mourner James Connor
Jim John Jones
King Steven Miller
Widow Douglas Nysie Padgett
Miss Watson, Strange Woman Marianne Shelburn
Judge Thatcher, Harvey Wilkes, Townspers Bob Smith
Tom Sawyer, Townsperson/Mourner David Strube
Huck Finn Sam Weyen
Alice's Daughter Melanie Womack
Ben Rogers Shemar Yearwood
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


First Musical for Lionheart: Big River
by Ladytatooine
Monday, May 23, 2011
It's not bad at all.

Now, this was Lionheart's first attempt at a musical, and I must say, they did quite well. Starting with the set: with no designer listed, but lots of people credited to help construction and painting, this set works for this stage. And good use of the set as well with the raft as part of another platform and the actors moving tables and chairs out as necessary. Well done on that! Nothing too extravagant and it wasn't needed. Costumes were right on, minus the wedding ring on one of the Loafers in the show. Again, nothing too extravagant and nothing took away from the story.
Lighting was very simple and needed to be, minus the darkness when actors were singing on the raft.
Sound: now, really. It was a recording sometimes and sometimes the two-man band. Someone needed to follow someone else musically. There were times that the actors were ahead of the music and vice-versa. Not a lot, but it did happen. The score itself was delightful and I can't wait to hear the entire score online.
Now, the actors:
Huck, played by Sam Weyen, was very well done. Eye contact was great, movement was with purpose and he kept the small mistakes on stage as part of the show. Only those looking would find the slips. Well done!
John Jones played Jim and did very well. John is mostly known for a medium, baritone-ish voice but in this show, he showed his bass. Deep, rich voice and the eye contact and movement was just like Mr. Weyen's. Well done!
Miss Watson played by Marianne Shelburn wasn't too bad, but her singing voice was a little off. Perhaps it was the night, but the pitch was not quite on with the other singers throughout the show.
Nysie Padgett did quite well as the Widow Douglas. It's always good to see Nysie on stage but she did quite well this time and had a very warm demeanor with her characters.
Bob Smith did very well with his Judge Potter character and the townsperson that could play the harmonica. Bob's vocal talent is always good to hear as he improves with every show he's in.
There were four boys, played by Sam Weyen, Sam Casey, David Strube, Shemar Yearwood and Matthew Connel. Not real sure who was who, but the gentleman with the red hair, the young African-American boy and Tom Sayer could have used a little bit more work on focus and being the character. The dark-haired boy was excellent and looked like he was having a blast on stage!
The Duke, played by Jason Caldwell, and the King, played by Steven Miller, were both delightful! Very on point, great with their comedy - they felt real. Loved them!
Pap, played by James Connor, was phenomenal. Not a lot of people can play drunk and not make it sloppy - Mr. Connor was very believable and very enjoyable. I can't wait to see him in other work and playing more comedies on other stages.
Over-all it was a great night and the refreshments were even better. Thanks to Lionheart for the night and best of luck to them in the future for their musicals! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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