Review: THE GREATEST HITS DOWN ROUTE 66 at 59E59 Theaters-A Thought Provoking, Charming Story Complemented with Folk Music

The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 at 59E59 Theaters

By: Jan. 24, 2024
Review: THE GREATEST HITS DOWN ROUTE 66 at 59E59 Theaters-A Thought Provoking, Charming Story Complemented with Folk Music

“The family creates their own American song book.” By Narrator in The Greatest Hits Down Route 66

New Light Theater Project (NJTP) returns to 59E59 Theaters after presenting recent hits at the venue that included According to the Chorus and Friends With Amenities. Their current show, The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 is a musical happening written by Michael Aguirre, directed by Sarah Norris, and featuring a multi-talented cast. We attended a weekend matinee performance when the Upper East Side audience gave it a rousing reception. 

The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 draws inspiration from the Carl Sandberg American Songbag, an anthology of American folksongs compiled by Sandburg and published in 1927 by Harcourt, Brace and Company.  Set in the summer of 1999, it tells the story of the Franco family taking a road trip along one of the original United States highways, Route 66. The father, nicknamed “Wolf Man” has a strictly planned itinerary. The trip proves challenging as the two children, The Eldest and Wee One pose some serious life questions while Mother Dearest attempts to keep the peace for the family foursome. The show creatively explores personal dynamics, father/son relationships and cultural origins. The timeless folk songs work beautifully to develop the thought-provoking and entertaining story.

Review: THE GREATEST HITS DOWN ROUTE 66 at 59E59 Theaters-A Thought Provoking, Charming Story Complemented with Folk Music

The cast of The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 masters their roles.  They include Joél Acosta as the Narrator who also deftly assumes multiple roles;  Kristoffer Cusickas as Wolf Man;  Kleo Mitrokostas as Wee One;  Martin Ortiz as The Eldest;  and Erika Rolfsrud as Mother Dearest.

Anyone who has taken a family road trip will relate well to scenes such as the stop at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace; an overnight in a run-down roadside motel; a family argument at Carl's Jr.; the kids’ inquiries about their parents’ childhood; an awkward stop at the home of Wolf Man’s younger brother; and the heartrending visit to Wolf Man’s ailing father.

Review: THE GREATEST HITS DOWN ROUTE 66 at 59E59 Theaters-A Thought Provoking, Charming Story Complemented with Folk Music

The excellent band that performs the music onstage includes Andy Evan Cohen on guitar and keys along with other instruments; Hannah-Kathryn Wall as lead vocalist; and Mary Rodriguez as the drummer.

The Creative Team has done a top job of bringing The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 to the stage with music direction by Andy Evan Cohen; movement and associate direction by Ashlee Wasmund;  scenic and projection design by Anna Kiraly; costume design by Kara Branch; lighting design by Nic Vincent; and sound design by Kwamina “Binnie” Biney.  The show’s casting is by Gama Valle. Kelly McCarty serves as Associate Producer. Madeleine Blossom is the Production Stage Manager, and Olivia Fletcher is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Our readers will definitely enjoy the opportunity to see The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 on stage now through February 18The show runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission. It is being performed in Theater A of 59E59 Theaters located at 59 East 59th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues) New York, NY  10022.  For ticketing and more information, visit https://www.59e59.org/.

Photo Credit: Hunter Canning




Videos