Review: ON CEDAR STREET at Berkshire Theatre Group

Simply Sit-back, Relax, Enjoy

By: Aug. 21, 2023
Review: ON CEDAR STREET at Berkshire Theatre Group
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Adapted from Kent Haruf’s novel, Our Souls at Night, ON CEDAR STREET tells the joyful and inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together in a search for happiness and family. In the small town of Holt, Colorado, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades. Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? When Addie tries to make a connection with her neighbor, the two begin sleeping in bed together platonically, with the innocent goal of alleviating their shared loneliness. As their relationship deepens, however, they each deal with grief and loss, and a real romance begins to blossom and a beautiful story of second chances unfolds. At its core, On Cedar Street is ultimately a human story about longing, pulling loving hearts together and making families whole.

Review: ON CEDAR STREET at Berkshire Theatre Group
Hayden Hoffman and Addison
Photo: David Dashiell

Director Susan H. Schulman reflects, ON CEDAR STREET “is a multigenerational story of redemption and unconditional love. This poetic and melodic musical illuminates the lives of a small group of neighbors in a Colorado town during a devastating drought and how the forces of nature evoke the ghosts of the past. Forced to confront these ghosts, our characters find redemption, forgiveness, and an ability to embrace relationships newly formed and reimagined; relationships not just with each other but with animals and their environment.”

ON CEDAR STREET Is the final production in Berkshire Theatre Group’s summer season.   With its small scale and folksy nature, the piece is an ideal fit for the Unicorn Theatre.  The production features Stephen Bogardus as Louis Waters, Lana Gordon as Ruth Clark, C. Wild Handel as Young Girl, Hayden Hoffman as Jamie Moore, Ben Roseberry as Gene Moore, Dan Teixeira as Russell Beckman, Lauren Ward as Addie Moore, Lenny Wolpe as Lloyd Beckman, Addison as Charley and Zooey Bayles as Understudy.

Review: ON CEDAR STREET at Berkshire Theatre Group
Lauren Ward, Stephen Bogardus
Photo: David Dashiell

The creative team for ON CEDAR STREET consists of book by Emily Mann, music by Lucy Simon and Carmel Dean, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, scenic design by Reid Thompson, costume design by Alex Allison, lighting design by Alan C. Edwards, sound design by Julian Evans, projections design by Shawn Edward Boyle, orchestration by Michael Starobin, casting by Tara Rubin Casting, animals provided by William Berloni, on-site dog trainer Rochelle Scudder, stage management by Jason Weixelman, music direction by Kristin Stowell, choreography and associate direction by Terry Berliner.

Review: ON CEDAR STREET at Berkshire Theatre Group
Lenny Wolpe, Dan Teixeira
Photo: David Dashiell

ON CEDAR STREET is not a traditional formulaic musical.  The language and content are modern and topical.  The subject matter is far more about navigating through the complexities of life than a boy meeting a girl, getting the girl, losing the girl, finding the girl again and living happily ever after.  It is realistic, simple, sit-back, relax, and enjoy a lovely evening of musical theatre.  It is also effective as supported by the fact that several audience members were emotionally moved at the conclusion of the 105-minute (without intermission) presentation.  Lauren Ward as Addie and Stephen Bogardus as Louis are believable, charismatic, and deliver quality performances.  Lana Gordon’s vocals are particularly noteworthy as is the modular set designed by Reid Thompson.  Berkshire Audiences are fortunate that we often have opportunities to experience world premiere presentations like ON CEDAR STREET.  While it is difficult to say what the future may hold for the new musical, it is safe to say that the production which continues on the Larry Vaber stage at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge through September 2, is a delightful way to spend one of the remaining summer evenings.


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