Friday, July 10, 2015

The Burnt Part Boys - Towle Theater

"The Burnt Part Boys"

Book by Mariana Elder

Music by Chris Miller

Lyrics by Nathan Tysen

Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International

This big universe of ours has become small, as we explore and see more. Same goes for this world we live in, which no longer seems so big anymore. Then, we see a small play or musical. Now and again one comes along that shocks us, because it is powerful in one way or another. How big the play or musical becomes is up to the writer, director, musical director, and cast. “The Burnt Part Boys” on show at the Towle Theater in Hammond, Indiana, became just that. A powerful performance that makes us feel so small again in theater. I am in awe and wonder of the simplicity, and the powerful presentation. 

What a great musical. Casting for the characters was spot on. The singing was very powerful, starting right at the beginning. This musical was funny, serious, captivating. The moving scenery was the best concept I have seen. Each scene (and there were many) established a vision that put you right in the moment. Just as if you were there walking and climbing with them. 

What impressed me was each character was strong. You still knew who the lead character was (Pete), because he was the strongest with the most lines. It is just that all played their part so very well you had to applaud each and every one of them. Even the ghosts were used brilliantly throughout the musical. The Saturday evening I went, the audience gave the cast a standing ovation for a brilliant performance.

Now the musical. We go through life sometimes praising the past. One might even dramatize. In this case the scene surrounds a coal mining community. The mine has been closed for the past 10 years because of an accident. The next generation of minors who grew up during those years had family in that accident. However, they remembered the years as a way of growing up, hiding some of the scars from the accident. They want to work together, wishing the other could become foreman. Then reality hits. The closed mine is going to re-open after all those years. The previous talk about mining and the meaning in their life suddenly becomes despair, because the closed mine had become a monument to their fathers who died in the accident 10 years ago, locally named "The Burnt Part".

Here are some photos of this great musical performed at the Towle Theater. Your wonderful cast starting with the character name (to keep you in tune with the musical):
Pete – Quinn Rigg

Dusty – Harry Ogrentz

Frances – Chloe Jancosek

Jake – Clint Boylan

Chet – Matthew Provencal

Ghost Miner Boggs/Sam Houston – Dan Brennan

Ghost Minor Taylor/Davy Crockett – Brian Rigg

Ghost Minor Tinns/Jim Bowie – Ian Rigg

Ghost Minor Twitchell – Keven Ballamy

Before I get to the photos, I have to give another plug the set design. This dynamic arrangement not only completed the background, it also took you on the journey as you followed the actors to the coal mine. It was like watching your own life take place starting with home, travel through the mountains, and ending at the coal mine. A superb job of interaction!

Of course this does not come together without vision and direction. Jeff Casey has taken this to a high level. Each of these actors shine in this musical under his direction. Bravo Jeff!!! Also . . .

Set Design - Kevin Bellamy

Lighting - Jeff Casey

Please thank again our sponsors. For without them, you would not be seeing the quality musicals and plays at the Towle Theater.

Accucraft Imaging Inc.
Exclusive Season Sponsor

"The Burnt Part Boys"

Directed by Jeff Casey

Vocal/Musical Direction by Lisa Kristina

Production Staff:

Stage Manager - Kat Baum

Lighting Design - Jeff Casey

Light Board Operator - Adrienne Petty

Set/Costume Design - Kevin Bellamy


Piano - Lisa Kristina

Violin - Shannon Yardley

Viola - Julie Stuckert

Guitar/Banjo - Steven Moeller

Bass - Don Parker

Percussion - Roye Robley

Towle Theater
5205 Hohman Ave.
Hammond, IN 46320
(219) 937-8780

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