SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERSBook by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Gene de Paul
New Songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Based on the MGM film and ‘The Sobbin’ Women by Stephen Vincent Benet
Granbury Theatre Company
Director – Tabitha Ibarra
Assistant Director – Freddy Martinez Jr
Music Director – Meredith Browning
Choreography – David Midkiff and Eden Barrus
Scenic Design – Kerri Pavelick
Sound Design – Kyle Hoffman
Lighting Design – Kalani Morrissette
Costume Design – Drenda Lewis
Prop Mistress – Gaylene Carpenter
Stage Manager – Whitney Shearon
Assistant Stage Manager – Devon Kleine
CAST for Reviewed Performance
Milly Bradon – Meredith Browning
Adam Pontipee – Halston Beggs
Dorcas – Megan A. Liles
Ruth – Stevie Simmons
Liza – Jennifer Nickell
Martha – Lena Moralez
Sarah – Eden Barrus
Alice – Mimi Barrus
Benjamin – Nate Milson
Caleb – Stephen Singleton
Daniel – Evan Beggs
Ephraim – Ethan Leake
Frank – Nolan Moralez
Gideon – Stephen Newton
Nathan – Freddy Martinez Jr.
Luke – William Byrum
Matt – Kendrick Booth
Joel – Jarrett Self
Zeke – Levi Casler
Jeb – Matthew Leake
Mr. Hoallum – Jeff Meador
Mrs. Hoallum – Connie Ingram
Mr. Sander – Andy Alamo
Mrs. Sander – Bryana Stephens
Preacher – Jeff Mastick
Little Girl – Rachel Mastick
Reviewed Performance: 5/4/2019
Reviewed by Eric Bird, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
This show was done on a well-designed set created by Kerri Pavelick. I loved the mountain backdrop she created; it helped me remember that the characters were all living in the mountains or a small mountain town. The house in the mountains was also well done, with shelves and tables full to feed a large family, and triple-decker bunk beds to accommodate the large family. The scenes also included house frames or trees to help create transitions between locations. Pavelick did well creating fully functional set designs that enhanced the story without overpowering anything.
Drenda Lewis did the costume design for the show. The costume pieces were period-appropriate with clear differences between characters. I appreciated how Lewis was consistent with Milly, always dressing her in blue. Adam had a fringed leather coat, showing him as the unrefined but hardy mountain man. I also liked how the brothers had coordinating outfits of breeches, suspenders, and shirts whereas the townsmen had suits with ties and coats. The costume choices were also appropriate for each scene, with Milly wearing an apron as she cooked and the brothers lounging around in long johns at night. Lewis did a great job making costume choices appropriate to each character and setting.
Aside from a thorough set and well-planned costumes, this production benefitted from extensive props. There were an array of dishes and food items for Milly’s expert cooking, books and travel bags as needed, and a lot of rifles for hunting in the mountains or pursuing over-zealous bachelors. I was also impressed by the slew of pies that the brothers brought to the barn raising. Carpenter was very thorough and detailed in her choice of props.
Kalani Morrissette did the light design for the show. He did well keeping the stage lit for all scenes. I could easily see each actor and the set. Transition scenes were done well with blue lights clearly distinguishing transitions from actual scenes. Morrissette professionally executed the lights for the show.
The sound design for the show was done by Kyle Hoffman. He did an excellent job of managing the volume of the music track. It never overpowered any actors during a song. Hoffman also expertly managed the microphones so that I could always hear the lines.
Leading the cast are Meredith Browning performing the role of Milly Bradon and Halston Beggs as Adam Pontipee. Browning is an incredible singer and has a very strong presence on stage. I especially appreciated her facial expressions when she interacted with the brothers and with Adam. I easily understood if Milly felt flattered, frustrated, or flabbergasted just by watching Browning’s face. I especially liked how she showed her proud, stubborn nature by looking away from Beggs as her character waited for an overdue apology. She also had incredible stage presence. Whenever Browning was in a scene my eyes were drawn to her. I especially liked her performance in “Goin’ Co’tin’.” Her movements were natural and continuous as she showed the brothers how to court and dance ladies, and her easy smile showed that her character was happy to help the bachelors. Meredith Browning brought strength and presence to this show through her strong vocal talent and natural expressions.
Halston Beggs paired well with Browning because he also has a strong, dynamic presence with a lot of comedic movement. Beggs interacted well with all actors, his tall posture and relaxed smile showing his cockiness, or his set jaw displaying his stubbornness. He began the show with a strong performance in “Bless Your Beautiful Hide,” projecting loudly and making his character’s intentions clear through his words and winks to the ladies. Beggs remained strong throughout the show, again shining in his rendition of “Sobbin’ Women.” I appreciated how he merged the lyrics and choreography, giving each equal attention so that he looked and sounded good. Beggs’ posture added to the comic feel in the show, as he swaggered around, pelvis forward, or smiled when getting into brawls with the townsfolk. Overall, Beggs had the presence and voice to be a strong lead in the show.
The show would not have happened without the brothers. I was impressed by the comradery between these actors. Together, they mimicked Beggs’ self-confidence but also created distinctly different characters. Nate Milson created a strong second-in-command second son as Benjamin, with a deep voice and clear projection that gave him a lot of authority on stage. I really enjoyed hearing him in “Lonesome Polecat.” Stephen Singleton did well as Caleb. He was always in tune and in sync with all the choreography and singing. Daniel and Ephraim were played by Evan Beggs and Ethan Leake, respectively. They did a good job of showing their characters’ closeness on stage by staying together. Nolan Moralez had impressive continuity as his character, Frank. Whenever someone dared to use his character’s full name, Moralez flushed and came after them to show his anger and quickly silence the offender. Stephen Newton finishes the brothers in his role as Gideon. Newton delivered his lines well and clearly and was very confident in the choreography. I really liked how clearly Newton showed Gideon’s interest in Alice, as he stumbled over words around her and sighed and smiled. Altogether, these men gave a familial sense to their characters. They coordinated their uncouth manners so that their lack of refinement showed in several scenes without the brothers all doing the exact same thing. I appreciated their physical comedy as they over-exuberantly took to dancing, fighting, or acquiring brides. These men make for a great show with their singing, dancing, and comedy.
The brides were played by talented women. Megan A. Liles stood out first in her role as Dorcas. Liles did a wonderful job of coyly watching and flirting with new men in town, even ignoring old suitors who stood next to her. Stevie Simmons played Ruth and paired well with Stephen Singleton, who courted her as Caleb. Jennifer Nickell played Liza and Lena Moralez played Martha, the inseparable friends. I appreciated how natural they made their characters look, always leaning in to each other to whisper or giggle, and always standing near to each other during dialogue on stage. Eden Barrus knew her lines and choreography for Sarah well. Mimi Barrus finishes the brides as Alice, the spunky bride who brought comedy in the way she ran from and with her suitor or collided with her father. Altogether, the brides were very good at staying present on stage, keeping their focus on the events and never breaking character. They fawned over Milly in “Wonderful, Wonderful Day,” each with a dreamy, far-off look in her eyes. They danced their transitions well as they changed from being with townsmen to brothers and back. Overall these ladies provided pleasant harmonies and strong dancing to keep the story going.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has stood the test of time with its rousing music and comic story. This production at Granbury Theatre Company is sure to please with its strong cast and dedicated crew. If you are looking for an enjoyable evening, I recommend you go from Granbury to the mountains of Oregon.
Granbury Opera House
133 East Pearl Street
Granbury, TX 76048
Performances run through May 27th
Performances times are 7:30 P.M. on Fridays, 2:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M. on Saturdays, and 2:00 P.M. on Sundays. There will be a special Memorial Day matinee on Monday, May 27.
TICKET PRICES for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Prime Seating - $35
Standard Seating - $30
Discounts are available for senior citizens, active duty military personnel, veterans, students, and children as well as for groups of ten or more.
For information and to purchase tickets, go to www.granburytheatrecompany.org or call (817) 579-0952.