BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's TUCK EVERLASTING is Glorious
The regional premiere of the Broadway musical TUCK EVERLASTING, playing at Hale Centre Theatre's Jewel Box Theatre in Sandy, is a glorious production grounded in homespun heart.
TUCK EVERLASTING (book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen) is based on the well-known children's novel by Natalie Babbitt. When 11-year-old Winnie Foster runs away from home, she encounters the Tuck family, who inadvertently drank water from a fountain of youth nearly 100 years before, rendering them immortal. Their youngest son, eternally 17, becomes the friend she never had, and the rest of the family fills a void in her life. Should she, too, drink water from the spring and join them?
Enough cannot be said to underscore the understated beauty of this production (directed by Dave Tinney), from the message and feeling of the book and songs that seep into your soul, to the refreshing, heartfelt performances, to the absolutely marvelous design work.
While every aspect of the performances may not be technically perfect, they are built on a solid foundation of skill and talent, and they are filled with passion and heart that radiates to their fellow performers and the audience.
Most impressive is Bailee Brinkerhoff Morris as Mae Tuck (double cast with Michelle Blake), with beautiful vocals of strength and warmth. The rest of the Tuck family is also perfectly cast and a joy to watch, including Kooper Campbell as Jesse, Marshall R. Madsen as Miles (both single cast), and David K. Martin as Angus (double cast with Brian Neal Clark).
David W. Stensrud is just the right mix of sinister and droll as The Man in the Yellow Suit (double cast with Stephen Kerr), and Mia Bagley as Winnie Foster (double cast with Aimee Johnson) carries the weight of the show on her shoulders with spunk and elegance.
The artistic set, from scenic designer and technical director Kacey Udy, is both abstract (for example, in its incorporation of ladders throughout) and filled with wonderful concrete details. Aesthetically pleasing, impressive in scale, and true to the tone of the story and music, it is simply stunning with each new reveal.
The lighting, designed by Brian Healy, is equally as spectacular, as it creates an atmosphere that is both visually dazzling and emotionally affecting throughout the show.
The attractive costumes, by Joy Zhu, are thoughtful, colorful, and historically grounded, with coordinated hair and makeup by Trisha Ison.
Despite the subject matter, TUCK EVERLASTING at Hale Centre Theatre won't last forever, and you really will do yourself a disservice if you miss this lovingly crafted, touching musical.
TUCK EVERLASTING plays through June 23, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Kooper Campbell (Jesse) and Mia Bagley (Winnie)