Now available for online viewing is the Midwest virtual premier of Island Song from 4 Chairs Theatre. Featuring words by Sam Carner, music by Derek Gregor, and story by Carner, Gregor, and Marlo Hunter, Island Song features a wealth of plush and sometimes gritty material that the cast clearly enjoys performing and that audiences will be sure to love.
The island of Island Song is New York City. The story follows five twenty-something year olds trying to find connection in a hard city. The show definitely demonstrates an influence from Jonathan Larson’s Rent, although Island Song is its own story
Nick Arceo plays Will, who struggles to find his sense of self worth when comparing himself to his brother who is leading the suburban dream life. Will gets involved with Jordan, masterfully played by Aalon Smith. Jordan in turn, struggles to maintain her own sense of identity as Will pulls her in a direction she isn’t comfortable with.
Kaitlin Feely plays Caroline who has moved to the big city with her boyfriend, only to find the relationship losing steam. Joe Farrell plays Cooper, a small-town boy who has given himself one year to try to make it on Broadway. Jasmine Lacy Young plays Shoshana, a singer unsure in love with an addiction to therapy.
All of the performer shine in their own way. It is a well-cast show. While the group numbers are generally the ones that shine brightest, the standout performance of the production goes to Smith. Aalon Smith’s performance of I’ll Take it All is a masterclass in sultry. Her voice is liquid chocolate that you just can’t get enough of.
Feely is another vocal standout. Her rendition of So Far From Pennsylvania is perfectly poignant as she captures the vibe of the eternal ingénue.
Expertly directed and produced by Lauren Berman, Island Song lends itself well to the online format. The production alternates songs with monologues and short scenes. Berman, audio/video editor Filip Graniczny, and music director Kailey Rockwell do an excellent job of keeping the material flowing at a natural pace. You are always entertained both visually and musically.
It should be noted that the musical arrangements for this production of Island Song are reminiscent of Larson’s Tick, Tick, Boom! That’s intended as a very big compliment.
The music is definitely more developed than the monologues and scenes. Some of the dialog could use polishing but that does not mean the show is without heart.
As Cooper, Farrell provides a touching moment many actors can relate to, when he realizes that no matter how successful he becomes as an actor, his parents will never approve. Farrell plays the moment brilliantly.
4 Chairs Theatre is a young company that continues to impress with its award-worthy production of Island Song. Director Berman demonstrates a clear and exciting artistic vision. The cast is first rate. Nothing should stop you from seeing this show.
Island Song is available to view online through May 2, 2021. Tickets are only $15 and well worth the price of admission. To view this fine production, go to: www.4chairstheatre.org.
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