I fell in love at first sight, and I stayed in love, even though I had to be openminded enough to accept a few less-than-perfect aspects as it went along.
“A Room With a View” takes place in 1908. The first act is set in Florence, Italy during the spring of that year and the second act in Surrey, England, during the summer that followed. It’s the tale of a young English woman, Lucy Honeychurch (Laura Griffith) who has been brought up as a proper lady, a member of the privileged class, and is betrothed to an even more proper, prissy, and very well-to-do young English gentleman named Cecil Vyse (Will Reynolds).
|The company of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit: Tracy Martin
|l-r George Emerson (Louis Hobson) and Mr. Emerson (Allen Fitzpatrick) in the premiere of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit Mark Kitaoka
|l-r Reverend Beeber (Richard Gray), Lucy Honeychurch (Laura Griffith), and Mrs. Lavish (Suzy Hunt) in the premiere of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit Tracy Martin
We’ve all met, in books or movies, versions of Cecil and his snobby, aristocratic mother, Mrs. Vyse (also play by Suzy Hunt, one of my favorite Seattle actresses). The Italians in this musical are also, for the most part, stereotyped—some might say offensively so. Most men on the street are presented as a danger to respectable women and likely to rob or assault. One even commits murder. Whereas the English place the highest value on appearances and propriety, the Italian couple we see again and again—played by Jadd Davis and Jenny Shotwell, can’t keep their hands off each other, even in public, and seem to care far more for operatic singing and making love than making a living. Yet part of Lucy is fascinated by their lifestyle and passionate romance, even as she rejects them socially for their lack of refinement.
Speaking of Davis and Shotwell, their singing was one of the highlights of this musical, along with Griffith’s truly amazing voice and Hobson’s fine vocal talents as well. In fact, all of the singing delighted me, even if not all the melodies did. However, my husband and others we spoke with had trouble understand the lines. One woman from the audience said if she had not read the book, she would not know what was going on.
|Lucy Honeychurch (Laura Griffith) and George Emerson (Louis Hobson) in the premiere of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit: Tracy Martin
The stage sets and lighting, however, will stay in my memory for a long, long time. They were exquisite, with special effects, like rain falling through a leak in the roof and lightning in the night sky, equal to anything I’ve seen at this theater. I loved the costumes too. The whole package provided the kind of rich experience only The 5th Avenue can offer, but it felt so different, more like opera than a musical. Part of that was because it had only minimal dancing. In spite of missing my desired quota of that staple of musical theater, I was still quite charmed by the whole thing.
|l-r Freddy Honeychurch (Matt Owen), Reveren Beeber (Richard Gray) and George Emerson (Louis Hobson) decide to take a dip in the premiere of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit Mark Kitaoka
|Louis Hobson and Laura Griffith star as George Emerson and Lucy Honeychurch in the premiere of the new musical, A Room with a View. |
Credit: Mark Kitaoka
I recommend “A Room With a View” for all the things I loved about it. It not only entertained, but was engaging, thoughtful, well directed, and visually stunning. I cared about the characters and worried about whether or not they would make the right decisions or end up haunted by regrets. I left feeling good, happy, satisfied and rewarded for my time. I believe you will too. You only have until May 11 to experience this show, so don’t miss the opportunity.
For your convenience, here is a link to the online box office. Enjoy the show.
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