Friday, April 29, 2016



         The Bridges of Madison County, the Broadway Musical, based on the novel by Robert James Waller, plays at THE KRAVIS CENTER in downtown West Palm Beach through May 1.
    “The setting is four days in 1965 and the following years.”  During these four days, a young National Geographic Magazine photographer, like the traveling salesman of yesteryear, comes to Winterset, Iowa.  His assignment is  to photograph the region’s bridges.  But in addition he sets his eyes on a hometown beauty.  The two fall in love, make love, and then he goes away.  Yet this isn’t just a fling:  As time passes, they pine for each other.
    The problem is the beauty is married.  She has a faithful, loving husband, two children, a boy and a girl, and a caring mother.  She’s reluctant to give them up.
    If this sounds racy, it isn’t.  There’s much tenderness, but the scenes are cinematic short, seldom long enough to capture deep emotion.  (A film version, without music, starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, was released in 1995.)  It has song and dance, (music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and book by Marsha Norman,) and the music is different, sort of symphonic folk, if that makes sense..  The choreography is minimal.  It has moments of humor but is rarely really funny.  It also has a lovely lighting design by Donald Holder.  Lights change with the time of day, the seasons of the years, the emotions of the people.
    A flaw of the musical is too many people appear and disappear.  Instead of a conventional love triangle, the multiple characters tend to confuse, especially as time goes forward while years pass but also go backward as memories unfold.  The children lend some depth to the story, yet this is basically a tale of two people’s indecisions, and that as well as anything, sums up my feelings towards “The Bridges of Madison County, the Musical”.
    The cast is unfamiliar, but all are good.  Several voices are, indeed, of highest caliber.  Withal, I kept hoping for something more to happen:  A love story is a love story except when it isn’t.
Closing date is May 1. For tickets and additional information,
telephone 832-7469.  Online:

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