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Review: The REV Theatre Company Presents ALMOST HEAVEN, THE SONGS OF JOHN DENVER

The casts vocals take center stage as they showcase the music of John Denver.

Review: The REV Theatre Company Presents ALMOST HEAVEN, THE SONGS OF JOHN DENVER
The company of the REV Theatre Company's production of
Almost Heaven: The Songs of John Denver.
Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.

The REV Theatre Company in Auburn, New York ends their 2021 summer season with Almost Heaven, The Songs of John Denver under the direction and choreography of Brett Smock. The title says it all, it is in fact over twenty songs by John Denver and others along with orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Jeff Waxman and original concept by Harold Thau.

Musical director Corinne Aquilina leads bass player Michael Fittipaldi along with the entire cast as they play guitars, fiddles, harmonicas, etc. while singing all those familiar songs of John Denver on stage. The cast features the talents of Kendra Jo Brook, Ben Clark, Jack Gerhard, Alex Nee, and Lili Thomas. Without a doubt the entire cast show off their spot-on vocals, charm, and instrumental talents as they sing favorites like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on my Shoulders," "Rocky Mountain High", "Leavin' On a Jet Plane," and many more.

Alex Nee takes on the John Denver character, charming and wowing audiences with those classic hits. His energy and charm take center stage. The rest of the cast takes on other characters that may have come in and out of John Denver's life such as admiring fans, upset audience members, ex-wife, college buddies, and so on. Listening to all the performances certainly was enjoyable because there is obvious vocal talent and skill in the cast. However, the show itself speeds through parts of John Denver's life and doesn't really expand on some facts and information that the audience doesn't know about the singer. Often with musicals about a performer the audience can easily get to know deep parts of the performer's life but unfortunately with this musical the story falls flat.

There is a lovely set design by Marshall Pope, featuring trees and grass that definitely gives the open-air country feel. Lighting design by Jose Santiago and sound design by Don Hanna were top notch. Charming costumes by Tiffany Howard and skillful wig design by Alfonso Annotto add to the characters. All the artistic elements, as always, were impressive and memorable.

The casts vocals take center stage as they showcase the music of John Denver. The music is superb and the performances stellar. The story is just not there. The REV's production is a nice time out to listen to some great John Denver music that many know and love.

Running time: One hour and ten minutes with no intermission.

Almost Heaven, The Songs of John Denver runs through September 29, 2021 at The REV Theatre Company's Preston H. Thomas Theatre in the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse at Emerson Park in Auburn, New York.

For tickets, click here.

Regional Awards


From This Author - Natasha Ashley

Natasha Ashley has been a reviewer for Broadway World for quite a few years covering numerous productions throughout Central New York. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Syracuse, New York. ... (read more about this author)


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