Also see John's review of Beehive: The 60's Musical
The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock is set in the small town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina just after end of the Civil War. It is a time when soldiers returning home struggle to stitch together the pieces of their shattered lives, as do the the many families left empty and broken by the death of their loved ones. A young, blind woman named Laurel, and her mother Elsa had been Northern sympathizers until the death of Laurel's brother at the hands of renegade Yankees. Now Laurel's budding romance with a smooth-talking, black Union soldier clashes with her mother's unquenchable thirst to avenge her son's death.
The worn cabin, tattered clothing, tousled hair and slightly smudged faces frame this production perfectly. It stands firmly on the solid bones of a play beautifully written and artfully acted. Lourelene Snedeker as Elsa is a fierce, mountain lion of a woman protecting her cubs and den. She marries herself to this role with enviable conviction in a performance worthy of accolades. Todd Allen Durkin is truly wonderful as the well-intentioned but befuddled Pastor Burns. One can feel the silent ache of his loneliness. Susan Cato as Laurel has a wistful grace that fits her character like a glove. Lori Gardner plays Maizey with a hopeful heart and positive energy that nicely matches the heavy heart of Jacob, broodingly played by Ricky Waugh. The show is only slightly marred by Donte Bonner's performance as the Bridegroom. He is surprisingly inconsistent in both his accent and his commitment to his character, though he is carried through on the strength of picturesquely written scenes. Though this is a new play, it has the feel of an American classic, and the haunting voice of playwright Catherine Trieschmann is one well worth hearing.
Catherine Trieschmann received the Weissberger Award for The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock and is also the author of Crooked, Hot Georgia Sunday, The World of Others and Before the Fire. She is currently residing in Western Kansas, where she is working on commission for the South Coast Repertory Theatre.
The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock will be appearing at Florida Stage through March 8, 2009. The theater is located in Plaza del Mar, at 262 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan. Florida Stage is a professional theater, with extensive programs for young artists, hiring Equity and non-Equity performers from across the United States. Florida Stage is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the League of Resident Theatres, the Florida Professional Theatre Association, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and the National New Play Network. The Florida Stage remains the only professional theatre in the Southeast producing exclusively new and emerging plays.
Performance days/times are normally Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm; and Sundays at 7:00 pm. Tickets and other information may be obtained by calling the box office at (561) 585-3433 or (800) 514-3833, or contacting them online at www.floridastage.org.
* Designates member of Actors' Equity Association: the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
** Designates member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
+Designates member of United Scenic Artists