Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” is considered a classic of American theater that reminds audiences of the precious qualities of our fleeting, ordinary lives.
Theater Latte Da‘s production brings the story to life with classic American folk music and a cast that reflects a more diverse contemporary reality.
Critics found the show “lively” and “rock-solid.”
“Our Town” is often seen as a nostalgic play, but this production isn’t about nostalgia; it gets both the “wonderful” and the “awful.” There’s Mr. Stimson (fierce and funny Tod Peterson), for instance. An alcoholic who has weathered unnamed tragedies, it is said of Stimson that “some people ain’t made for small towns,” a comment that is less an indictment of him than of a town such as Grover’s Corners that cannot help or understand him. Whispers of casual bigotry and marital discontent also suggest there are others who see Grover’s Corners as a prison.
In step with Latté Da’s musical-theater focus, he and Musical Director Denise Prosek have interlaced the show with popular American music ranging from traditional folk songs to the works of Stephen Foster and Scott Joplin. The result is a lively, tuneful production that often takes on the coloration of a hoedown, making up in high spirits for what it occasionally lacks in subtlety.
All of this work — the acting, the music, the simple yet effective staging — gives Wilder’s deep, subtle, and stunning script a rock-solid platform to work its charms, break the heart, and push the audience out of the theater with a new perspective on every mundane but beautiful moment of life.
“Our Town” runs through April 6 at The Lab Theater in Minneapolis.
Have you seen the show? What’s your review?