BWW Review: CROSS THAT RIVER at 59E59 Theaters is Enthralling Storytelling with Superb Music
"I must find this place, although it's far."
By Blue in Cross That River
An exhilarating production, Cross That River, is now onstage at 59E59 Theaters through December 31st. The show has a riveting story along with a fabulous score and the finest musical accompaniment. It features direction by Regge Life, composition by Allan Harris, with a book by Allan and Pat Harris. This is a show for these times, a passionate and inspiring piece of theatre portraying the spirit and courage that built America.
Cross That River tells the lifelong story of a man named Blue, born to slavery in Louisiana in the mid 1800's. As a young man, his dreams of freedom are realized when he crosses the river and escapes to Texas to become one of our country's first Black Cowboys. Oppression, hard work, and personal loss take their toll on Blue, yet he finds the strength to persevere. The show presents fascinating historical facts with a fictional narrative and each of the songs captures a chapter in Blue's compelling story.
Cross that River had a brief run at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009. It has been rewritten and has a new cast. The rich score features jazz, blues, country, as well as rhythm & blues songs. Some of the outstanding selections include, "Cross That River," "Mail Order Woman," "Black Seminoles," and "Dat Dere Preacher."
Renowned jazz composer, musician, and singer Allan Harris stars as the elder Blue on guitar. Joining Mr. Harris is joined by a group of talented, accomplished musical artists and actors. They include vocals by Maya Azucena; vocals by Jeffery Lewis; vocals by Carolyn Leonhart; violin by Alan Grubner; keyboards by Miki Hayama; guitar by Seth Johnson; drums and percussion by Shirazette Tinnin; and bass by Jay White and Paul Beaudry.
The Creative Team has done a top job of bringing Cross That River to 59E59 Theaters. They include set design by Anne Patterson; lighting design by Michael Giannitti; sound design by Norman Riley; and set construction by Richard Wright. The Stage Manager is Alex Moore; Producer/General Manager is Pat Harris; and the Producer Assistant is Pat Rampolla.
Cross That River is immensely entertaining. It has a story that you will find enthralling with music that is absolutely superb. Gather your group and get your tickets. It is an extraordinary theatrical experience.
Produced by Love Productions Records, Cross That River will be performed through Sunday, December 31 at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). The show runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission. The performance schedule is Tuesday to Thursday at 7:15 PM; Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM. Single tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit http://www.59e59.org/.
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg