Stage "Prairie" Lacks the Depth of Previous Incarnations
- Thursday, November 12, 2009
Certainly, the show has its strong moments. The choreography is inspired in the westward travels that conclude the overture as well as in "Go Like the Wind" and the recurring "Faster." The show finally comes alive in the second act as the attention steers away from Ma and Pa and toward an older Laura and Almanzo falling in love. This allows Kara Lindsay as Laura and Kevin Massey as Almanzo to shine. They are the bright stars of this production, and when given the material, they are vibrant.
To the show's defense, Little House is early-on in its development and is certainly salvageable, but will require more than test-audience tinkering to become a classic. This is truly a shame as there is a strong need for Broadway rife with a triumphant family message, and LHOTP could potentially serve up just the right mix of history, romance, and a dash of faith. To stand the test of time, Little House needs a restructuring rewrite, at least one single memorable song, and a direction that skews towards realism.
But for now, Little House misses the heart by a long shot. With no real warmth or convincing sentiment, it serves as little more than a primer for those wishing to go home and rent the television series. In the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder herself, "God sends us the lessons we need most to learn." The lack of audience tears should have sent that message clearly. Let's hope it is a lesson learned indeed.
In its first national tour, "Little House on the Prairie, The Musical" tours this fall through June 2010. For a complete list of tour dates and cities, please visit www.littlehousethemusical.com.
Mark Steele is the President and Executive Creative of Steelehouse Productions where he creates art for business and ministry through the mediums of film, stage and animation. He, along with co-host Jeff Huston, host the weekly "Steelehouse Podcast" discussing God in pop culture and the arts. Mark is the author of three books the latest of which, Christianish, is available from David C. Cook publishers. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife, Kaysie, and their four children.
To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here. You can also subscribe to "Steelehouse Podcast" through iTunes. To read Mark's weekly "Pop Culture Moments" blog at TheFish.com, please click here.
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