Country Musical Tinyard Hill from TheatreWorks
The last date listed for Tinyard Hill was Sunday August 16, 2009 / 7:00pm.
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Daniel P FaiginRed Velvet
view more less of this review
What's a weekend without theatre. Yes, we're on vacation, but that doesn't stop us from our theatre. We loves our theatre, yes we do. Oh, right, the review. (straightens his metaphorical tie) Ahem...
Tonight we drove down to Palo Alto (well, actually, we drove up from Mountain View, as we were seeing friends) to Theatreworks to see to closing performance of the new musical "Tinyard Hill". This was the world premier of this new musical, part of Theatreworks New Works Festival '09, which features book, music, and lyrics by Tommy Newman and Mark Allen.
"Tinyard Hill" takes place in the summer of 1964, as the Vietnam War is ramping up. It tells the story of two families in Tinyard Hill, GA: Russell Kingsley (James Moyeæ) and his son, David Kinsgley (Chris Critelliæ), and May Bell Whitehead (Allison Brineræ) and her niece Aileen Garrett (Melissa WolfKlainæ). Russell and his sons are blacksmiths, and David has ideas to make his father's shop a success. Aileen has come to Tinyard Hill to escape the craziness of her upcoming wedding, and to have her aunt make her a wedding dress. But then David and Aileen meet... with predictable results. Let's just say that sparks fly, and not just from the anvils. Add to this some history between Russell and May Bell, and a draft notice for David, and you can see how the drama builds.
As this is a new work, let's start with the book. Some portions are predictable: you know that David and Aileen will eventually come together, although you don't know how the other family dynamics will work. Some portions aren't: such as the family history or the interaction with the Vietnam War. However, even with the predictability the story is enjoyable and fast paced. I certainly sensed no gaping flaws, no areas that required suspension of disbelief.
The actors were all superb. I was particularly smitten with the looks and the enthusiasm, as well as the singing ability, of the younger leads (Chris Critelli and Melissa WolfKlain). I would love to see both again, especially in productions closer to home. Their investment in their characters was remarkable. The older leads were also very strong -- I liked James Moye quite a bit, but there were times where Allison Briner seemed a little off for the role (not that she acted or sang badly, but she just didn't have the gospel feel she seemed to need at points).
[æ denotes members of æ Actors Equity ]
Technically, the show was remarkable. The sets (by Tom Langguth) did a remarkable job of evoking the feel of the rural south, and seemed to miraculously float in and out. When combined with the effective lighting by Pamila Gray the effects were spectacular. I especially enjoyed the little touches, such as the use of LED lighting bugs on the trees, or the gentle blues of the swamps. The sound design by Cliff Caruthers ensured that all could be heard, and there were no microphone glitches. The costumes by Cathleen Edwards effectively established both the era and locale.
The show was directed by Robert Kelley. Stage management was by Jaimie L. Johnson, assisted by Joshua M. Rose. Musical direction was by William Liberatore, who was part of and conducted the six member band, which played wonderfully.
This was the last performance of "Tinyard Hill". We were impressed with TheatreWorks, and would see more of their productions.... if they weren't in a city 400 miles from home!
By Tommy Newman and Mark Allen
Tinyard Hill, Georgia is a small town partial to old-time music and new-forged dreams, especially for a handsome young blacksmith hammering out a living at the historic smithy his family has owned for generations. When an out-of-this-world beauty and an out-of-the-blue draft notice arrive within days, his life is turned upside down. Set in the ’60s to a foot-stompin’ country-pop score, this feisty new musical tells of family, fortune, patriotism, and romance in an era of irresistible change. Tinyard Hill received its Original Developmental Full Production at Red Mountain Theatre Company, Birmingham, AL.