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Washington DC by Tracy Lyon

The Robber Bridegroom

The latest offering by The American Century Theater is the Alfred Uhry-Robert Waldman musical, The Robber Bridegroom. Currently running at Arlington’s Gunston II Theater, this musical has a country feel but runs very low on charm.

The Robber Bridegroom is based on a story penned by Eudora Welty and focuses on the attractive rogue, Jamie Lockhart. To all the world Lockhart is an upstanding gentleman but in reality, he is ruthless bandit who makes his home in the woods. Throw in rival gangs, a headless thief and a desirable farmer’s daughter and the result is a thin and very predictable plotline that seems more akin to a cheap historical romance novel than a piece of musical theater.

Alfred Uhry’s book and lyrics accompany Robert Waldman’s music. The unremarkable score is punctuated by a few nice pieces. The opening number, “Settler’s Tune,” is enjoyable, but much of its success in this production is due to the fine choreography by Sherry Chriss and Chrystyna Dail. “Two Heads” is a fun ditty and “Steal With Style” also works well.

The Robber Bridegroom
(l-r) Christopher Gillespie,
Joe Cronin, Rebecca Breed
and Kim-Scott Miller

Although the material is flimsy, the cast puts their all into this production. TACT alum, Brian Childers is an appealing Jamie Lockhart. He uses his charisma to his advantage and handles the musical numbers with style. As his love interest Rosamund, Tara Garwood is a bit weaker. Vocally, she is not strong. However, she is a skilled dancer.

Joe Cronin is delightful as the gentleman farmer, Clement Musgrove. His sweetly obtuse characterization is fun to watch. However, the performance that practically steals the show is Kathryn Fuller’s Salome. Ms. Fuller gives a very robust performance. When singing she is quite remarkable. Hers is not a voice that is sweet and melodic, but she acts her songs with such skill that one gets drawn into her performance.

The piece is directed by DeAnn Duncan. It is obvious that she has tried to play up the show’s strengths, but in the end the material is just not good enough to sustain it. Unfortunately, The Robber Bridegroom lacks the excitement and panache that is supposed to be embodied by its title character. The Robber Bridegroom runs through October 11th.

American Century Theater
The Robber Bridegroom
September 11 – October 11
Book and Lyrics by Alfred Uhry
Music by Robert Waldman
Directed by DeAnna Duncan
The Gunston Arts Center, Theater II
2700 S. Lang Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Ticket Information: 703-553-8782 or www.americancentury.org

Cast List

Jamie Lockhart: Brian Childers
Rosamund: Tara Garwood
Clement Musgrove: Joe Cronin
Salome: Kathryn Fuller
Big Harp: John C. Bailey
Little Harp: Christopher Gillespie
Goat: Brian Rodda
Goat’s Mother: Melissa Stamps
Caller: Kim-Scott Miller
Innkeeper: Maya Weil
Raven: Rebecca Breed
Airie: Andrea Abrams
Ensemble: Andrea Abrams, Anthony Aloise, Rebecca Breed, Rebecca A. Herron, Emre Iz’at, Kim-Scott Miller, Melissa Stamps, Maya Weil
Musicians: Emre Iz’at, Maya Weil

Photo: Jeff Bell


-- Tracy Lyon


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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