Review by Leonard Lehrman, May 2001 [not printed]
O Pioneers! is based on Willa Cather's novel, adapted by Darrah Cloud, who also wrote her own lyrics, with very lovely music by Kim D. Sherman. The piece is actually 10 years old--has had other productions, including one on PBS years ago, but was expanded for this production, with more music added. The 14-piece ensemble acts and sings very well, accompanied by 6 instruments. The production itself, presented by The Acting Company, originated in Queens last January, and has toured 50 cities from Alaska to California to Cather's hometown of Red Cloud, Nebraska, where they were presented the key to the city. The end of the run is Sunday afternoon, May 13, at The Women's Project Theatre, 424 W. 55 St. Tel. 212-765-1706
The only thing I would fault in it is the climactic single gunshot that kills the two lovers. (In the novel, it's three shots.) The timing of this production is felicitous for Cather lovers, with the splendid production of Song of the Lark shown this past Wednesday and Sunday evenings on PBS.
--Leonard J. Lehrman
Songs fromThe Booby Trap or Off Our Chests will be performed Sunday evening at 8pm at Theater 22, 54 W. 22 St., as part of the Golden Fleece Ltd. Square One series. Tel. 212-691-6105.
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