Writer Caroline Russell-King offers her Postcard Review of the latest production from Theatre Calgary, the musical The Louder We Get.
Show: The Louder We Get.
Playwright(s): Book by Kent Staines, lyrics by Akiva Romer-Segal and music by Colleen Dauncey.
Production company/theatre space: Theatre Calgary in association with Mary Young Leckie, et al in the Max Bell Theatre, Arts Commons.
Length: Two acts (two hours 20 mins., one intermission).
Genre(s): Musical romance.
Premise: With the support of his friends, a union and a lawyer, a high school boy takes on his principal and the local school board when they deny him the right to bring his boyfriend to the prom. Based on the true story of Marc Hall.
Why this play? Why now?: The writer says, “I’d love for those who come to see the show feeling voiceless and powerless to leave understanding the power they have to spark change.”
Curiosities: Despite the bigger stage, budget and orchestra, I felt like I was at a StoryBook Theatre show. Was the play always meant to be as wholesome and chaste as it is? Is the central issue homophobia is wrong or the Catholic Church is wrong? Why do wigs pull focus?
Notable moment: We are all waiting for the kiss …
Notable writing: Romer-Segal and Dauncey took six years to craft this feel-good play and the time invested is evident. The show, which premiered at the Segal Centre in Montreal, deservedly won the 2016 Stage West Pechet Family Musical Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada.
Notable performances: Evan Kinnane is the lead in this 23-person cast and he is perfect. Strong performances and singing kudos to Kira Guloien (who plays his mother), Carly Montevera (his friend), and scene stealer Thom Allison (his lawyer).
Notable design/production: The set by James Noone is stellar (both meanings of the word). Noone has an extensive design resume and is also the Head of the Scenic Design Program at Boston University. The Velcro shirt at the top was the only anomaly to the felicitous costumes.
Notable direction: Lonny Price along with co-director Matt Cowart bring a wealth of Broadway knowledge with them for their Theatre Calgary debut.
One reason to see this show: Who doesn’t love a feel-good musical celebrating human rights that are won by a tenacious and brave teen?
(Photo courtesy Trudie Lee.)
Theatre Calgary’s The Power to Change runs until Feb. 22 at the Max Bell Theatre in Arts Commons. For tickets and showtimes please go to https://www.theatrecalgary.com/.
Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at www.carolinerussellking.com.