Well, not quite. We had been mulling over whether to see this show for some time. A visit by friends from DC inspired us to choose it. Totally blown away by this show.
The story itself is, of course, very moving but the truly special element of this musical lies, first, in the story adaptation for the stage, using multiple characters to tell the story in often rapid-fire shifts of narrator and, second, the use of a relatively small cast with each member playing multiple roles in the story. You have to pay close attention to what is being said and what is happening to keep up with the fast-moving story. But the role changes for the cast members occur so smoothly that you don’t realize what has happened. Somehow, before our eyes but without your being aware, a cast member has slipped off stage, changed clothes and reappeared as someone else. In other cases, the performer simply slips into or out of a jacket and plays a completely different role in the story for a brief period. You see it happening but it is completely in accord with the movement of the story.
The music is joyous and to a degree overcomes the otherwise incredible drama of what you know has happened and is going on in New York City while the people who “come from away” are mostly left in the dark.
We have seen enough top tier musicals in New York to wonder sometimes why the audiences are not more enthusiastic and choose not to reward the performers with a standing ovation. No worries in this case. The entire audience was on its feet in a few seconds after the curtain came down, roaring their approval for an extended time while joining the musicians in an improvised hootenanny style hoedown. Wonderful in every way. As we moved slowly out with the crowd, my wife noted she would see the show again and I agreed with her. It was that good.