~Reviewed by Doc Lawrence
|Sizzling under a Texas Sky|
ATLANTA-Theatrical Outfit concludes its Season of Character with a highly entertaining musical, 110 in the Shade, a mighty effort with a spellbinding story and powerful songs, successfully resurrected by director Tom Key from 1963 stage gem.
Based on the play and later film The Rainmaker, Lizzie a young farm girl, believes she is consigned to spinsterhood, forever stuck on her family’s Texas cattle ranch near a small town parched by unbearable heat and unyielding drought. Never mind that she is attractive. She’s heard a lifetime of cruel remarks about her being ordinary and has lost all self-esteem.
For the romantic imagination, however lack of rain compares to lack of love. Both deficiencies are addressed when Starbuck, a charming conman, comes to town. For a paltry $100 dollars he promises rain and on a quiet Lone Star night, he changes Lizzie’s opinion of herself and introduces her to the miracle of love. Innocence lost opens the beauty of a Texas flower.
|Starbuck uncovers Lizzie's Beauty|
Starbuck is destined to be exposed, but the metamorphosis of Lizzie is permanent who suddenly she tells everyone she is beautiful.
Starbuck, ready to skedaddle to another locale and launch another scheme, isn’t the only man attracted to Lizzie. The local sheriff, File, has long hidden his shine to Lizzie and he isn’t about to let her leave his bailiwick.
Sunken spirits and parched hearts are metaphors of the dry land and insufferable heat. Maybe Starbuck delivers on love and rain. You’ll know at the end of Act II.
110 is a story about hope, overcoming the pain of loneliness, family bonds, our biological need for dreams realized and the universal forces of joy we experience when love suddenly appears.
|A Charming Conman|
For two hours, the cast honors the promise of true love with voices in harmony with the universe. The sounds proclaim something everlasting, assuring us that in the depths of despair and self-doubt, there is beauty. Never give up: love is just around the corner. How many of us need a Starbuck in our lives?
S. Renee Clark’s musical direction is flawless. The voices are clear and strong, the musical accompaniment seamless. Under Tom Key’s direction, Ayana Reed as Lizzie and Jeremy Wood as Starbuck join a superlative cast in a meaningful and beautifully told story.
Like blossoming flowers in late spring, 110 in the Shade is a musical that glows brightly on Theatrical Outfit’s stage, rain or shine.
Photo credits: Christopher Bartleski