Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of TheatreWorks' MARK TWAIN'S RIVER OF SONG?
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley continues its 50th Anniversary Season with the West Coast premiere of Mark Twain's River of Song. Charting a journey down the Mississippi River, this rousing new musical shares the humorous and heartwarming stories of one of its most famous chroniclers, Mark Twain. Developed by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, creators of TheatreWorks favorites Fire on the Mountain and Tony-nominated It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, this rollicking adventure features guitars, banjos, and harmonicas in a music-filled voyage that will have audiences tapping their toes.
Directed by Randal Myler, Mark Twain's River of Song will be presented October 2-27, 2019 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For tickets ($30-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Steve Murray, BroadwayWorld: Through song we hear the stories of gamblers, farmers, dockhands, shanty boys and lumberjacks. It's the original jukebox musical, a genre so popular in modern theatre. Beautifully staged by scenic and media designer David Lee Cuthbert and lighting designer Steven B. Mannshardt with costumes by Jill C. Bowers, director and creator Randal Myler lets the strength of the material shine.
Lily Janiak, Datebook: The wisps of life along the river don't usually get much chance to build, but one extended scene, excerpting from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," features a shining performance from McCormick as Jim, as he reckons with the violence that the world, his life, has drawn out of him toward his own family. It's a threnody from the soul's bottom, a father's sadness that becomes an American sadness. "Mark Twain's River of Song" rarely goes that deep or that dark, but even the short excerpts we do get always mingle love with lament. That's the perennial brilliance and hilarity of Twain. He lowers, and he exalts. He finds fault, and he finds glory.
Jean Schiffman, SF Examiner: As for Mark Twain himself: Actor Dan Hiatt is a dead ringer for the Twain that is familiar to us from photographs. Nattily dressed in a three-piece white suit with a blue bow-tie and red socks, and sporting a head of fluffy white hair and a mustache, he looks every inch the famed writer and effortlessly captures Twain's wit and low-key charm. (Twain says he's pushing 80, and that's the only exercise he needs.) But Hiatt is woefully underused here. He has nothing much to do except watch the others from the sidelines and occasionally offer a clever bon mot or a bit of narration. Which, being Hiatt, he of course does beautifully.