Reviewed by Kevin Pollack
The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is dealing out its triumphant season of premieres with the recent Broadway hit The Bridges of Madison County. This Tony Award-winning Broadway musical features gorgeous, soulful music by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, Songs for a New World) and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden, The Color Purple). The next show in Marriott’s season includes another JRB scored musical Honeymoon in Vegas.
Based on the best-selling novel, Bridges follows Francesca Johnson (Kathy Voytko), a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy, looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair. When ruggedly handsome, National Geographic photographer, Robert Kincaid (Nathaniel Stampley), pulls into her driveway seeking directions, though, what happens in those four days may very well alter the course of Francesca's life.
For those who have not seen this show, it is a very powerful story and the acting is absolutely superb. Marriott has really outdone itself this time. Having come from just appearing in Broadway’ The Color Purple and Marriott’s production of Man of La Mancha, Stampley really shows off his beautiful voice in the role of Kincaid. He is also a very genuine actor. Voytko matches him perfectly with a beautiful voice and a powerful performance, showing every emotion with every line or lyric that’s spoken/sung.
Some of the beautiful songs include “Wondering,” “Falling Into You,” “What Do You Call A Man,” “Almost Real,” “Before and After You/One Second and a Million Miles” and “It All Fades Away.”
Other great performances come from Broadway great Bart Shatto, who plays Bud, husband of Francesca. You really feel for his character in this show and his standout songs “Something From A Dream” and “You’re Never Alone.” The other standouts are neighbors Marge and Charlie, played by the hilarious Wydetta Carter and Terry Hamilton.
Overall, the show is expertly directed by Nick Bowling with musical staging by William Carlos Angulo.
The show is only playing til August 13th, so I highly suggest you purchase your tickets now for this real treat. You can get tickets at www.marriotttheatre.com