BWW Review: FERN HILL by Michael Tucker at NJ Rep is the Ideal Blend of Comedy and Drama and Features a Stellar Cast
"It's time to get right with ourselves before there's no time left."
By Sunny in Fern Hill
The World Premiere of Michael Tucker's Fern Hill, directed by Nadia Tass is now on stage at New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) through September 9. Tucker's wonderfully crafted play about the ups and downs of couples' relationships in their golden years is thoughtful and moving, yet humorous and entertaining. And the show's stellar cast is a veritable dream team. Get your tickets now. This is a remarkable production that will appeal to a vast audience. It speaks to experiences that encompass all age groups.
In Fern Hill, three aging couples, all close friends, have gathered at the farmhouse of Sunny and her husband, Jer to celebrate momentous birthdays. As Sunny proposes a toast, she also takes the opportunity to suggest that the six of them live together to develop a support system as they grow older. Her idea is well received, except by Jer, who thinks of it as a breach of his privacy. As the plot unfolds and Jer's adulterous affair is disclosed, the situation opens up spirited, revelatory conversations about relationships, the expectations of partners, and the bonds of marriage.
Michael Tucker's talent for creating sharp, witty dialogue and a diverse group of characters makes Fern Hill a relatable, fast moving play with just the right balance of comedy and drama. The accomplished cast of Broadway veterans includes Jill Eikenberry as Sunny; David Rasche as Jer; Tom McGowan as Billy; Jodi Long as Michiko; John Glover as Vincent; and Dee Hoty as Darla. The characters are so well portrayed, you feel an intimate connection to them. Scenes that include Billy describing his clam sauce recipe; Darla and Michiko planning an overseas excursion; Jer caring for Vincent after his hip replacement; and conversations between Sunny and Vincent about art are just some of the moments that will keep you captivated throughout the show.
Once again, NJ Rep's Design Team has created an authentic setting that brings Fern Hill to life on the Long Branch stage. They include scenic design by Jessica Parks; lighting design by Jill Nagle; costume design by Patricia Doherty; and sound design by Merek Royce Press. Rose Riccardi is the Production Stage Manager; Adam von Pier is the Assistant Stage Manager/Company Manager; Merek Royce Press is the Webmaster; and Brian P. Snyder is the Technical Director.
Fern Hill is the 128th new play that has been presented at New Jersey Repertory Company in their over 20 year history. It is a show that will certainly go far, so see it while you can. We compliment the theatre's Artistic Director, Suzanne Barabas and Executive Producer, Gabor Barabas for continuing to bring inviting new works to the metro area audiences.
Fern Hill has a run time of two hours with one intermission. The show will be performed at NJ Rep through September 9. The theatre is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740. Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm. For tickets and more information, call 732-229-3166 and visit: http://www.njrep.org/.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of NJ Rep