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Flora Lynn Isaacson

RVP’s Our Town–Superb!

By February 1, 2024No Comments

Jaeden Sanchez and Steve Price in Our Town

Photo by Robin Jackson

Ross Valley Players’ current production of Our Town is superb.  The show runs now through February 25 at the Barn Theater in Ross.  Director Chloe Brozan and the talented cast bring Thornton Wilder’s classic American story to life.

Following the play’s premiere in 1938, Wilder wrote “the audience was deeply absorbed…there was much laughter and applause.” The next run flopped in Boston but the Broadway show was a hit winning Wilder a Pulitzer Prize. At the time Eleanor Roosevelt said the play “moved and depressed her.”  Her description ironically reflects the play’s main theme–that life is both “awful…and wonderful,” yet each moment should be treasured because “it goes so fast.”

As the show begins, it is clear this is a “play within a play.” The set is sparse, the stage mostly empty until the “stage manager” (played exquisitely by Lisa Morse) welcomes the audience and describes the small town and people of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Morse is especially good at introducing characters and explaining events as she enters and exits the stage speaking directly to the audience.

The story focuses on two families and the changes in their lives during the years 1901-1913, especially the love that develops between George Gibbs (Jaeden Sanchez) and Emily Webb (Tina Traboulsi). Sanchez beautifully captures both his character’s youthful hope and later grief. Traboulsi is extraordinary and her range outstanding as her character matures and changes over time.

The rest of the cast (composed of both younger and older actors) is equally brilliant, especially Michael-Paul Thomsett (Dr. Gibbs), Lauri Smith (Mrs. Gibbs), Steve Price (Mr. Webb), Jennifer McGeorge (Mrs. Webb) and Ann Fairlie (Mrs. Soames). Price is convincing as a loving father and a man not prepared for the many changes taking place around him. Fairlie’s role may be small but her stage presence is off the charts. Kudos also to the rest of the incredible cast including Dalton Ortiz (Joe/Wally), Justin Hernandez (Howie/Sam), Alexandra Fry (Rebecca/Si), Tom Reilly (Professor/Constable/Mr. Morgan) and Peter Warden (Simon).

Thanks also to Michael Berg (excellent period costumes), Ronald Krempetz and Michael Walraven (set), Billie Cox (sound/original music) and Frank Sarubbi (lighting). Their creativity adds much to the overall mood and enjoyment of this production.

Coming up next at Ross Valley Players is The Divine Sarah, a musical by June Richards and Elaine Lang, directed by Jay Manley, March 15-March 31.