Review: FLY BY NIGHT is the Kind of Musical That Makes You Fall in Love with Musicals, at Broadway Rose

By: Sep. 27, 2016
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If you're looking for that next musical to fall in love with, or you wonder what the big deal is about musical theatre, I very highly recommend you make your way out to Tigard to see FLY BY NIGHT at Broadway Rose. (Protip: Take a date. And tissues.)

What is FLY BY NIGHT about? I've been gushing about the show to anyone who would listen, and they've all asked this question. It's a tough one to answer.

The plot is about a love triangle -- two women (sisters), one man. But the musical lives on a higher plane -- it's about love and loss; it's about how we're all connected; it's about hopes and dreams; it's about not being afraid to live our lives fully. At the risk of hyperbole, it's about pretty much everything that's important in life.

Still with me? Good! Let me tell you about the music. Written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, and Kim Rosenstock, the score is sweet and charming, with a wealth of catchy tunes for your shower-singing pleasure. I personally think "Cecily Smith" is one of the best songs ever written for a musical.

Lucky for us, the director responsible for translating all of this beautiful material into an extraordinary theatre experience is Isaac Lamb, who has become one of my favorite local directors (earlier this year, Lamb directed Third Rail Rep's ANNAPURNA, which I also thought was excellent). He has a gentle touch that makes everything he directs feel so personal and intimate.

And the cast is an embarrassment of riches -- better than the original (at least based on the cast album). My favorites are everybody: Joe Theissen as The Narrator (yes, I like him in everything, but this one most of all), Rebecca Teran as Miriam (wow, what a voice -- please stay in Portland!), Benjamin Tissell as Harold (so charming!), Gary Norman as Mr. McClam (I cried just about every time he spoke), Tim Blough as Crabble (he puts so much expression into a single word), David Caldwell as Joey Storms (great comic timing, and so earnest), and Malia Tippets as Daphne (another stunning voice).

I spend a lot of evenings sitting in theatres -- watching plays, musical, random experimental performances. Occasionally, I wonder if seeing so many shows makes them less special. And then, a show like FLY BY NIGHT comes along and makes me feel like I'm experiencing the magic of theatre again for the very first time. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so moved by a show and a performance. I've already made plans to go again.

FLY BY NIGHT plays at Broadway Rose through October 23. Info and tickets here.

Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer


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