Boho’s season finale is a remarkably poignant, beautifully realized production of Adam Guettel’s (composer of “Light in the Piazza”) and Tina Landau’s award-winning 1996 cult favorite. From the opening strains of Guettel’s bluegrass-infused music (reminiscent of Aaron Copeland), capably musical directed by Alan Bukowiecki, conducted by talented Allison Hendrix on keyboard and backed by harmonica, guitar, banjo, violin and percussion, the show grips its audience and never lets go until well after the final curtain. Even days later this story of courage continues to haunt the soul.
Based on true events, this folk musical tells the tragic tale of a young Kentucky farmer who, attempting to rescue his family from poverty, explores underground and becomes trapped when the ceiling gives way in a small cave. Peter Marsten Sullivan has flawlessly directed his well-cast actors, leading them over, under and through Diane D. Fairchild‘s multi-level set, which gives the suggestion of the muddy Kentucky soil above while providing caverns and subterranean pathways beneath. During his seventeen-day captivity, Floyd’s younger brother Homer and Skeets Miller, a slightly-built local newspaperman, manage to make contact by squeezing through the tunnels. Miller befriends Collins but his interviews spark a media frenzy above the ground, airing on radio, drawing in rescue teams, spectators, the Red Cross, a movie producer, concession salesmen and more reporters (who sing the brilliant, “Isn’t That Remarkable?”). Despite all attempts, Floyd Collins‘ rescue arrives too late.
Jim DeSelm creates the perfect Collins with his charm, good looks and vocal prowess. His ease with this difficult score is shown in, among others, “The Call,” in which DeSelm harmonizes with his own echo (backed by Christopher Kriz’s stunning sound design). The talented ensemble features shining newcomer Jon Harrison, as Homer, and Greg Foster as a heartbreaking Skeets Miller. This must-see production truly portrays “How Glory Goes.”