Tuck Everlasting Is a Family-Friendly Musical about Ordinary Life versus Immortality

Tuck Everlasting is a musical about an eleven-year-old girl named Winnie Foster (Sarah Charles Lewis) who longs to escape her house and have adventures.  She gets her wish when she meets her mysterious neighbors, the Tuck family.  The Tucks need to keep moving around and separating because they all drank water from the spring in their woods, which makes them immortal.  They can survive gunshots and other attempts to kill them.  But most humans perceive the Tucks as weird, distrust them, and persecute them.  This musical questions our assumption that eternal life is desirable.

Winnie and Jesse (Andrew Keenan-Bolger), the youngest Tuck brother, become close.  He wants her to drink from the spring when she turns seventeen, and then they will get married.  But Winnie decides to live a normal life and marries Hugo, the assistant policeman (Michael Wartella) who has been searching for her with the constable at the request of her mother.

They have a son, who gets married and has children, too.  Winnie dies naturally after a very full and happy life.  Dances without words express this action at the end of the musical.  This sequence resembles Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in its celebration of ordinary life.  The conclusion moves the audience powerfully because we theatergoers think about people in our own lives whom we love.  It may be too sentimental.  The whole Tuck family comes to Winnie’s grave and remembers her fondly.

This is a family-friendly musical with no sex or terrible violence.  The only violence comes when the villain, the Man in the Yellow Suit (Terrence Mann), tries to force Winnie’s mother to sell the forest and uses Winnie as a hostage.  He is very selfish and wants to sell the magical water, so no one feels much sympathy for him.  This musical is based on the novel for children by Natalie Babbitt.

Tuck Everlasting has terrific acting, dancing, and singing by the entire cast.  There is a fine chorus of dancers and singers.  However, they sometimes come on stage during intimate moments for the main characters when extra people do not belong.

Sarah Charles Lewis, who is only eleven herself, has a mature voice and a glowing stage presence.  She has a bright future in theater.

 

broadhurst theatre new york photo

Photo by Ken Lund

1 Comment

  1. Maureen E. Mulvihill

    As always, Janet, an enjoyable & nicely crafted piece. You surely have a good touch with this material. Keep up the momentum, continuing success attend ye!

    Faithfully,

    Maureen E. Mulvihill
    11th June 2016.
    ____________________

    Reply

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