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BWW Review: BRILLIANT Debuts on Theatre Row


The emotional musical hits the stage at Theatre Row

BWW Review: BRILLIANT Debuts on Theatre Row

Dani Tapper's new musical, Brilliant recently debuted on Theatre Row in part of New York City's Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. The musical, which took Tapper years to work on, was a deeply personal one she needed to create. She stated in a press release, "I wrote Brilliant because I felt it was important to share this very personal story with other parents so they know they are not alone in their struggle to support their atypical child. It is a universal story for parents."

It may be a story geared toward parents, but it is the bond between mother and son that is so gripping here. It centers around Sarah (Kim Suskind), a mother struggling to understand her son Adam (Asher Edgecliffe Johnson and Hayden Bercy) who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who is later diagnosed with high-functioning autism. We see Adam as a young child struggling to contain his erratic behavior then as a teenager whose aggression turns violent, all the while Sarah remains by his side, trying desperately to get him the help he needs. It is when Adam's outbursts cause physical harm to the family: his father Jake (Courtney Dease) and older sister Kat (EmmaLee Kidwell), that leave Sarah no other choice but to send Adam away to a school that specializes in children like her son. Naturally, this hurts Adam, and even though both Sarah and Jake made this decision together, it is his mother Adam is angry with, causing him to loose all trust in her.

What this story does well is provide us not only a realistic insight to how a family deals with an atypical child, and the ramifications that can be caused by various views inside the home, but it also takes us inside the mind of Adam and his everyday struggles. While we normally only see the outside layer of someone with atypical behavior, such as their seemingly erratic behavior, this story allows us to hear Adam's own thoughts and feelings to give us a deeper understanding to why he might be lashing out.

The mother was no doubt the strongest character in this story. Between her love for her son, and being the backbone of the family (her voice was incredible too), she was a powerful force that could resonate with us all.

There were several heartfelt musical performances done by many of the actors, including when Kat sings about her positive views of Adam in "He's My Brother," along with "Trust Me" sung by Adam and Sarah together, and the very last song, "Take it Day by Day" which includes the whole cast, offering a strong sense of hope for each and everyone.

Brilliant is now playing at Theatre Row until Saturday, October 2nd. For more information please visit here.

Photo courtesy of Campfire Films PR

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From This Author Carissa Chesanek