Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 19, 2013


Broad Brook Opera House Players, Broad Brook, CT
through December 1, 2013
by Walt Haggerty

Broad Brook Opera House Players have put their best foot forward (make that feet), to present a rousing, foot-stomping performance of a less than perfect musical. The good news is that troupe, as always, give it an all-out example of their best work with strong performances from the large cast. Unfortunately, Broad Brook’s efforts cannot overcome what is, regrettably, not a very good show. The result is that a dedicated cast, through sheer willpower plus a lot of talent provide an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

The story is a tried and true formula treatment of generational conflict, demonstrating that father does not always know best. Siobhan Fitzgerald, as Ariel Moore, gives a strong performance as a somewhat rebellious teenager filled with anger and resentment toward her demanding and tyrannical father/minister, Reverend Moore. In that role, David Chivers gives a controlling, demanding portrayal that borders on villainy, before finally seeing the light, barely in time for the finale.

Acting honors for the evening go to Debi Salli, who, as Vi Moore, conveys both love and understanding as she tries to bring peace to the conflict between her husband and daughter. She also possesses the best singing voice of the evening, most effectively in a moving solo rendition of “Can You Find it in Your Heart,” and a winning duet of “Learning to be Silent,” performed with Vickie Blake as Ethel McCormack, in another excellent performance.

Randy Davidson offers a strong and sympathetic treatment of Ren McCormack, the young hero who brings resolution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. Holden Smith’s Cowboy Bob, stops the show with his Act II opening delivery of “Still Rockin’.”

The talented ensemble, under the direction of John Sebatian DeNicola and choreography by Keith Leonhardt, keep the proceedings moving forward at a fast pace, giving the score the support of an upbeat interpretation that is generously welcomed by the audience.