Monday, April 11, 2011

Arsht Center: The Sparrow (reviews)

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts opened The House Theatre's production of The Sparrow on April 7, 2011, in the center's Carnival Studio Theatre.
Created by the award-winning team at The House Theatre of Chicago, THE SPARROW is one of the most original and acclaimed new works to emerge from the Chicago theater scene in decades. The play, intertwined with music and dance, tells the story of Emily Book, a small-town girl returning home 10 years after a tragic accident that claimed the lives of her entire class. As the town struggles to accept the strange girl who reminds them of their loss, Emily attempts to hide the special powers that make her different.
Nathan Allen directed a cast that included Carolyn Defrin, Paige Hoffman, Shawn Pfautsch, Marika Mashburn, Mike Smith, Joey Steakley, Brandon Ruiter, Abu Ansari, Caitlin Chukta, Trista Smith, and Ele Matelan.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for the South Florida Theater Review:
The Sparrow is a moving, occasionally funny and frequently stunning piece that melds acting, music, highly stylized choreography and, above all, endlessly inventive staging.
...the reason not to miss this show is not the story; it’s the story-telling that you only find in theater – the metaphors that the company has created just with light, sound, movement and minimal scenery.
Then there’s the 13 cast members in their 20s who convincingly double as emotionally-wounded adults as well as the awkward teenagers. Having worked together for years, they evoke a sense of community from the opening of the play.
Kevin O’Donnell’s score provides a steady underpinning like a movie soundtrack. Tommy Rapley’s choreography ranges from a Fred and Ginger pas de deux to the frenzied gyrations of the homecoming dance to a glorious solo when Emily sheds her pain and expresses bliss for the first time all night.
Roger Martin reviewed for
“She's Got Astonishing Magical Powers.”  That's what they say of Emily Book, heroine of The Sparrow, now playing at the Adrienne Arsht Center.  But truly, the phrase should be applied to the creators of this piece for they have spun together a piece so imaginative, enthralling and just plain fun that goggle eyes and bated breath rule the auditorium.
The Sparrow is not all about singing pink piglets returning from the dead, school bus wrecks and cutesy-pie cheerleaders.  There are tears and tragedy, regret and laughter and the cast members of The House Theatre of Chicago who perform this piece are uniform in their excellence as actors, singers and dancers.
Carolyn Defrin shines and flies as Emily Book-The Sparrow, and Shawn Pfautsch stands out as Dan Christopher, school teacher and all around good guy.
The House Theatre production of The Sparrow plays at the Arsht Center through May 1, 2011.

1 comment:

  1. This isn't a review...but it is my own letter to our community on why I think everyone should go: