I had the privilege to see the production of Once last night at the Starlight Theater here in KC.
Ladies and Gentleman,
You don't know me, but I can now say, I am a great fan of your work.
A limited engagement like yours will probably not garner a review.
Given what I see from the local paper in that vein, I am not sure that is a big loss...
Take this then, as a review from one person deeply touched by your efforts Friday evening.
I will preface by stating, the following statements about myself are in no way braggadocio, but more assure you I have some background to know of which I speak.
First, I came with high expectations. This show, of all shows, was destined to be very high on my list when I first heard about it.
It is, after all, a melding of two of my first loves:
I am a life-long acoustic musician, with a particular bent toward roots music and it's Celtic origins. Given my druthers, a jam session is one of the most peasant ways I can kin to spend an afternoon or evening, rather that a night on my own watching the TV.
An Musical Theater, another life-long obsession. Musical Theater, the melding of all the Arts. Music, instrumental and vocal, Dance, the written word in the libretto and lyrics and the visual arts in sets, costumes and lighting.
And what a melding you accomplished last evening!
In my 50+ years of playing guitar, both solo and with groups, I have never in my life witnessed a more talented group of musicians. I plan a bit of Banjo and Mandolin, but mein Gott! You passed those instruments from one to another, until I swear there was naught on which each of you could excel. And those instruments! I am a Gibson man myself, but that collection of Martins is to die for! My greatest wish would be to bring my J-45 up on stage and jam w) you before the show!
I will also state that in 40 years of walking the boards, both student and professional, this cast is phenomenal! I do not envy those who take on the casting of such as this. Hardly Dancers who Sing and Singers who Dance. Oh! by the way, can you play every acoustic instrument ever wrought and some percussion as well? Oh! and how are you with Celtic and Slavic accents and even mixtures of same?
Why are you laughing? I never joke, although I am not Czech... ;-)
And having spent part of my time back-stage, I cannot remember a more perfect unit set. And the lighting and sound were perfection.
In fact, with the exception of one dropped pick during a crucial moment, (don't worry, I am probably the only one who noticed) it was just that, Perfection.
Finally, as a board member of the most intimate professional musical theater venue in KC, and having stood on that Starlight stage, many years ago, I appreciate the unique issue you had. You stare out on the biggest house ever...
But Mark me, you brought everyone in that audience in to the intimate world of two people people, the people they touch, the world they know.
So many of you are so young, with your whole career ahead of you. Don't forget to cherish this time, with one another. From years of experience, there are some productions that stand out in one's memory. I saw that last night.
But more than that. Music, sublime. Acting, there was no acting, I was watching Irish and Czech people. Every single aspect, perfection. And more.
You transition to that magical place in live theater, where craft transcends to Art.
And in that you Touched us all, and Taught us all, as Great Art always does.
That two people, alone and lost, can find each other and through their Music, learn to love again.
That in, what is it? 5, 6 days? A week can change EVERYTHING.
That Boy meets Girl, Girl fixes Boy, Girl fixes herself too. And even if they don't live happily ever after together, they do life happily? Who can ever know about forever, a good while longer is more than enough.
That songs need to be heard as much as they need to be sung. NO, More.
That you can't have a City without Music...
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Turas math dhuibh!