Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Great Work - 7th House Theater

Unfortunately, it's the end of the run for 7th House Theater's new production, The Great Work, which closes Sunday, January 3 at the Guthrie's Dowling Studio. I wish I'd seen it earlier!

Andy Frye and Shinah Brashears.
StarTribune photo by Amy Anderson.
7th House company members David Darrow (music and lyrics) and Grant Sorenson (book) wrote this brief (65 minutes) but intense new musical. A cast of eight performs the story of an aging composer (played by David Carey) sharing a piece of his past with his grown daughter (Kendall Anne Thompson). As a young man in Vienna, Hans (played as a young man by Andy Frye) experienced great love and great success. Bergen Baker uses her terrific soprano voice to great effect as his love interest. The music is lovely, though a couple of songs become a bit repetitive. The 6-piece orchestra, led by Jason Hansen, fills out the sound, and a variety of roles are played by the ensemble (Shinah Brashears, Aleks Knezevich, Maeve Moynihan, and Adam Moen), who sound wonderful, particularly in an a capella segment that shows off both the music and the voices.

I hope the group continues to develop the show and that we get a chance to see it again. This production seemed a bit overwhelmed by the physical staging. The piece is strong enough on its own that it doesn't need a lot of frills to be effective. It's strengths are in the story, music, and performers.