Well the Missus and I trundled down to the South End Saturday night to catch the SpeakEasy Stage Company‘s production of Violet and, man, it’s a knockout.
Featuring a powerful folk, rock, and gospel score, this soul-stirring musical, set in 1964, tells the story of a young North Carolina woman who travels by bus to Tulsa to see a faith-healer she thinks can transform her life. Along the way, she forms unlikely friendships with her fellow passengers, and learns that it’s the journeys you take in life that help you discover who you are.
The music is by Jeanine Tesori, “the Tony-winning composer of five Broadway musicals, including Fun Home; Shrek The Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; [and] Caroline, or Change.” The lyrics and book are by Brian Crawley, based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts.
Representative sample, sung by the powerful Dan Belnavis, who plays Flick:
The cast is uniformly terrific, but none so luminous as Alison McCartan as Violet and Audree Hedequist as young Violet, both of whom sing and act beautifully. Michael Mendiola as Violet’s father is moving, Carolyn Saxon as Lula Buffington/Landlady is big-voiced, and Kathy St. George as Old Lady/Hooker is a total hoot.
The production runs through February 6. You won’t be sorry if you go.