An incredible musical score in The Bridges of Madison County carries you through the years of Francesca's life giving new meaning and power to the story. A powerful, poignant, and passionate production that easily lives up to the Broadway image. Witty inquisitive Marge (Mary Callanan) visited with me about this incredible role, the unique POV switch of the musical's book, and of course Mamma Mia, Gypsy and much more!
The Bridges of Madison County is a wonderful Valentine's treat that has a ton of passion but much more heart. Mary Callanan I talked a lot about the word love and all it's variations in this production.
The set is something that truly stands out in the musical. The constant movement of the characters adds many layers of depth to the Music Hall stage. The glowing ever changing back drop adds such incredible scenic quality that you feel the open range effect of the Midwest. The pacing throughout the production is more delicate and slow allowing for the story to flesh out. Acting wise the production stems on Andrew Samonsky's ripped physique and his smoky voice. Sadly, Elizabeth Stanley's Italian accent creates a sometimes tough listen even from the lower level seats. But her powerful mannerisms and voice still burst to life when the moments rose into the more meaningful variety. The love making scenes are tastefully done if not a bit corny and romance book level. Through those sappy moments there is a real heavy dose of nostalgia and pride. The Midwest cliche lifestyle is fully on force in the performances, but not with tongue in cheek delivery. Instead there is a nod back to the old way of life and all the virtues of the WWII era and it's getting older in the wild 60s. That touch of childish rebellion in kids roles Michael (John Campione – feisty and fiery performance) & Carolyn (Caitlin Houlahan – showcased an amazing amount of growth in a secondary character). The mother daughter relationship is extremely powerful in the production and elevates the Musical past the book/film plot line. You really capture the unique futures these two kids will have. Michael's rebellion is bold and boisterous (weed smoking and chasing girls will do that to ya in the 1960s). In the end though the plot twists in the musical really make the show something truly unique.
One key addition to the Bridges story is the lovable noisy neighbors Charlie and Marge. Charlie's not so much noisy as he's married to Marge who's noisy enough for both. I asked Mary about getting to play such a fun role.
Mary went on to explain how important this role is to her and where it ranks in her favorite characters.
As this musicals National Tour is still bustling along and will remain at Music Hall through V-Day, I asked Mary about another tour from her past. We talked about the amazing Mamma Mia production.
That incredible run of Mamma Mia at Music Hall was in Dallas during the same weekend at the Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium in 2011. That show is still my favorite musical show at DSM. 3rd row with my mother on opening night, EPIC! Mary remembered Dallas as well!!
Bridges is at DSM through Feb 14th! #BridgesDSM
And to the amazing Mary Callanan, you are always one of our Dancing Queens!