Below, Jason Robert Brown talks about the lyrics and music that he created for this musical—with some fine examples.
1. “Why should theatergoers come to see the musical The Bridges of Madison County?"
What I bring to this production, I hope, is enough humanity and life to Bud that the audience looks at this love story from another angle. Here’s a guy who loves his wife with all of his heart, but they are going through a rough patch. They’re getting older, their kids are growing up, and the love that they felt for one another has changed, perhaps gotten a little stale.
From Bud’s perspective, he knows Francesca wants more from life, but doesn’t know how to give her that, as much as he wants to. There’s no time, there’s no money. And I think as the play continues he knows something is really wrong, that he is losing her somehow, and that scares the hell out of him. His best friend is keeping something from him, and he knows it, even if he doesn’t know what it is.
The awesome orchestrations support perfectly the time of story, bringing you right into the scenes emotionally. The dialogue is simple and direct, very accessible to all, and easy to understand and follow. The story will strike a chord with anyone who ever had to make decisions of the heart, and choose between what the heart is telling you and what your sense of responsibility is demanding of you. Who hasn’t stood at that crossroad? Just hearing this beautiful music performed by a brilliant cast and orchestra in itself is not to be missed. Join us. You will be glad you did!
I can relate to being torn between my love for art and my commitment and love for my family. I am lucky to have a handsome and supportive husband who helps me pursue my artistic dreams and still have a family life.
Robert: I want what I bring to this guy to show why Francesca loved him in the first place, and why staying with him and the kids was the right choice. Or maybe that’s a nice debate the audience can have with one another after it ends.
Nicholas: I’m humbled as a member of this incredibly talented cast, and grateful to tell this story with them. I think my individual contribution, or I should say my character’s contribution to this story, is a settled maturity. Charlie and Marge are a more mature couple, together a long time, very simple and very honest in their relationship. They’re open and talk about anything and everything in their relationship. It may appear that they’re tip-toeing around a topic, but they go there—simply, honestly. I love them! In some ways they remind me of my parents.
Faith: As Marge, I bring a touch of humor as a nosy neighbor, using binoculars to spy on my neighbors. I also bring into play the picture of a long and stable, loving marriage, not without a touch of boredom and some fantasies of an extra marital “crush”—but all done with just a hint of seriousness and a lot of lightheartedness.
But that’s not where Marge stays: she is also the compassionate friend, who shows up in a time of great need, who protects the very neighbor (Francesca) she spied on. Marge sees and understands the dilemma, understands the importance of protecting Francesca’s secret, and remains a loyal friend to the end. Always there. Her last line to Francesca after all is said and done: “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Life goes on. And so does this friendship, no matter what happened.
C.J: I have a strangely bright, high pitched voice for a guy, which has its advantages and disadvantages. In one number, the score requires a man to sing tight Andrews Sisters style harmonies with two women, and guess who got the job! I get to sing with my cast mates, Marissa Wolner and Kaitlin Davis, both of whom I have shared the stage with before and hope to again.
Desiree: We [ensemble members] bring a sense of community to the story.
Marissa: Every singer in this show is phenomenal, and paired with the beautiful score, the show is worth coming to for the music alone.
The Bridges of Madison County plays through October 23, 2016 at The Media Theatre, 104 East State Street, in Media, PA. For tickets, call the box office at (610) 891-0100, or purchase them online.
Rachel Beecher’s review of The Bridges of Madison County on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Originally published by DC Metro Theater Arts.