Through December 3|
VIOLET MusicalFare/Daemen College
There is an attraction to flamboyant, inerrant religious denominations.
You can go to religious services and find the challenges of life settled by someone giving you all the answers.
There are also the preachers who can offer something someone wants desperately.
That’s what Doris Betts wrote about in “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” a young woman with a scar she wants healed, heading off on pilgrimage, although to Tulsa, Oklahoma and not Santiago de Campostela.
Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley put this together in “Violet,” the interesting and well-done musical on the MusicalFare stage.
Violet (Michele Marie Roberts) wants that scar removed, a scar made by her father (Jeffrey Coyle), something he regrets.
She has studied movie magazines to find what she wants to look like, “All To Pieces.”
She’s relying on Preacher (a wonderful Elmer Gantry performance from Ben Michael Moran) to cure her flaw, including “A Healing Touch” and “Raise Me Up.”
Accompanying her on the Greyhound from Spruce Pine, North Carolina to Tulsa, through Fort Smith, Arkansas are two soldiers in this 1964 run up to the biggest phases of the war in Vietnam, Green Beret wannabe Monty (Patrick Cameron) and Flick (Dudney Joseph, Jr.), who sees his Army NCO status as better than Black life in Jim Crow America.
They both want Violet and take chances in the society south of the Mason-Dixon Line in a year when some of the worst atrocities of the Civil Rights era occurred.
Since this is a romance of sorts, you can wrongly guess where this is all going, in “Bring Me To Light.”
It’s a twist.
Director Susan Drozd and choreographer Kristy Cavanagh have a large cast to work with, filled with newcomers to MusicalFare, including Maria Farugia as the young Violet.
In keeping with the military theme of the show, Drozd is working with the MusicalFare reserves, strong performers who aren’t on the company stage very often, like Maggie Zindle and Annette Christian.
There are also some group efforts, Christian, Zindle and Ember Tate with “Anyone Would Do.”
“Violet” is a very different kind of musical, a historical show looking at a bad time in our history.
You will see parallels to the present day in this story and a chance to revive memories of a time many would like to forget.
It’s all an interesting story with some strong performances, particularly Roberts, Moran, Cameron and Joseph.
“Violet” is different and very well done.
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