Sunday, October 06, 2013

Tamar of the River

The glorious Tamar of the River, running through October 20 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, is a must-see for anyone interested in nontraditional, engaging, and accessible musical theatre. Based on the biblical story of Tamar and Judah and his sons, Tamar of the River presents an active Tamar who is a prophet and pacifist and who exists on her own, not just as wife/mother/sex object. After the river tells her she is a prophet and gives her an assignment, she sneaks into enemy territory. There she ends up more or less involved with Judah and each of his sons as she tries to convince them of the importance of peace. The show is compelling, sexy, sometimes funny, and deeply emotional.

Composer/libretist Marisa Michelson, lyricist/librettist Joshua H. Cohen, director Daniel Goldstein, and choreographer Chase Brock create a vivid and magical world. Michelson's contribution is particularly vivid; using only voice, piano, violin/viola, dulcimer, percussion, and cello, she presents people, nature, love, mistrust, unity, hope, and great, great beauty.

The books and lyrics, as well as scenery by Brett J. Banakis, costumes by Candida K. Nichols, lighting by Brian Tovar, and sound by Jeremy J. Lee, are simple, clear, and strong, and the movement and dance work hand-in-hand with the music to bring wonder to this story and this show.

Tamar is played by Margot Seibert, soon to be playing Adrian in the musical Rocky on Broadway. She is a bit contemporary for the role of Tamar, but excellent nonetheless. The whole cast is wonderful, with magnificent voices; they are Ako, Jeremy Greenbaum, Erik Lochtefeld, Mike Longo, Vince B. Vincent, Jen Anaya, Adam Bashian, Margo Bassett, Troy Burton, Tamrin Goldberg, Aaron Komo,and Mary Kate Morrissey.

I might not have seen this if a friend hadn't invited me. I owe her a great vote of thanks.

(fifth row; discount ticket)

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