BWW Reviews: Delightful MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING at Actors' Summit
Where do you get information and inspiration to write a musical about a Jewish lesbian who gets married to a Wiccan? If you are David Hein, you turn inward and write about you, your mother, your other mother, your father, and your grandmother. Sound like a mindless piece or escapist theatre? Well, it's not!
MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING is a unique, delightful, tune filled, charming, heartfelt exploration that takes a number of twists and turns as it explores self revelation, relationships, and the politics of marriage. It's been called "The most tuneful weapon you'll ever find for advancing marriage equality."
MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING should be required viewing for all the members of the U.S. Supreme Court before they act on the marriage case before them this term
The musical review play, written by David Hein and his wife, Irene Carl Sankoff, centers on Hein's real life memories of spending his teen years with his biological mother, Claire, and his other mother, Jane.
The story starts as Claire divorces young David's father and moves to Canada to accept a job as a university professor of psychology. The moves is eased by Clarie's finding an apartment in Michelle's home. Michelle, an outgoing lesbian, is part of a musical group. Claire starts singing with the troupe, meets Dawn, a Wiccan therapist, they fall in love, and marry in 2005 after Canada becomes the fourth nation to legalize same sex unions.
The score, while not memorable, is filled with meaningful tunes which move the plot along. Foremost of these is A Short History of Gay Marriage, which traces the frustration of gays in trying to get equal rights and allows members of the audience to literally participate in a protest march. The song has been updated to include the recent election in which several more of the U.S. states approved gay marriage. Some of the other vocal highlights are: Feelings Are Important, Jew-ish, Five Mothers, and You and Me. Quite funny is Hot Lesbian Action, Double Date and Romance 101.
Under Neil Thackaberry's wise directing, the show moves along at a pleasant pace. The music, under the direction of J. T. Buck, wisely supports and underscores rather than drowning out the singers.
The performers are all excellent. They sing well and the are natural in their characterizations. Kevin Kern has a nice twangy voice, plays the guitar with gusto, and creates a real person as the older David. Daniel Sovich is charming and shows a nice teenage sensibility as the younger David. His side role as a cross dressing Hooter girl is fun and funny. Lindsey Mitchell (Claire) makes for a charming mother, who grows and changes before our eyes. She has a fine singing voice and a nice grasp of her character. Keith Stevens creates in Garth, Claire's former husband, a supportive father and real person. Elizabeth Lawson Homes, (Michelle), is a hoot as Claire's landlady and friend. The Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski (Jane) has a wonderful singing voice and is totally believable as Claire's Wiccan girl-friend and then wife. Megan Brautigam, Zach Griffin and Hope Caldwell are excellent in multiple supporting roles.
The multi-level set is cleverly festooned with the Human Right's Campaign's blue and gold striped pride insignia.
CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING is a meaningful musical production which has a solid message enforcing the need for equal rights for all, while also being totally delightful. This is a must see show!
For tickets to MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING, which runs through December 23, call 330-342-0800 or go to actorssummit.org.