FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE &
contact: Dawn Flood firstname.lastname@example.org Please see release for all appropriate public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE & BROADCAST
Press contact: Dawn Flood
Please see release for all appropriate public information
Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Opens at The Western Stage in October
When Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn premiered at the Eugene O ’Neill Theatre in 1985, few probably could have predicted the phenomena Roger Miller and William Hauptman’s musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic novel would become.
Originally conceived as a showcase for country singer/songwriter Roger Miller, Big River enjoyed an impressive 1,005 performance run, receiving seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score for a Musical, and Best Book for a Musical as well as seven Drama Desk Circle Awards.
On October 7th, The Western Stage opens its own production of this truly American musical under the direction of Artistic Director Jon Patrick Selover. With music ranging in style from gospel to folk, Selover says Miller’s score and lyrics present a great cross section of American music.
of Roger Miller’s music with Mark Twain’s uniquely American story about a boy
and a runaway slave sailing to freedom down the
"We were dirt poor," he once said. "What I'd do is sit around and get warm by crawling inside myself and make up stuff... I was one of those kids that never had much to say and when I did it was wrong. I always wanted attention, always was reaching and grabbing for attention."
Eventually, Miller’s craving for attention was most definitely satiated. By the time of his death in 1992, he had recorded thirty-two albums—which included such memorable songs as “Invitation to the Blues”, “King of the Road”, “Dang Me”, and “Chug-a-lug”—and won eight Grammy Awards, not to mention the Tony Awards he received for Big River’s music and lyrics.
Yet, does this hundred and thirty year old story still have resonance for us today?
It does for
Sean Evans, the
“There is a whole political tide right now toward taking whole groups of people and dehumanizing them,” says Evans. “People are the same everywhere. Muslim fathers love and miss their children just as much as anyone.” Evans says the story of Huckleberry Finn reminds us that freedom should not be an abstract notion, but something that is guaranteed no matter race, color, or religious affiliation. (For more, see profile on Evans)
With songs like “Do You Wanna Go to Heaven” to “Muddy Waters” Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn promises to take audiences on a journey through American history, music, and morality. (For more on this history of the book, see supplemental article)
Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn plays on The Western Stage’s main stage through October 28th. Performances are Fri. and Sat. at and Sun at Tickets can be purchased through the TWS box office at (831) 375-2111 or online at westernstage.com.
Also mark your calendars for the last two shows of TWS’ 2006 season. In late October, the still timely American classic Inherit the Wind opens in the studio theater followed in November by the always rousing musical extravaganza Oliver! on the main stage.
This musical re-creates many of the scenes and characters from Twain's epic novel, often using Twain's exact words. Parents be advised that Twain was revered (and reviled) for preserving the colloquial slang and racial epithets of his time, and the language is likely to offend some viewers. But the musical and the novel both serve Twain's purpose of pointing out the evils of slavery, greed, corruption and hypocrisy through the innocent eyes of the novel's Midwestern protagonist.