Musical is based on bestselling  novel

Published online on April 12, 2018

Robert (Rob Richardson) and Francesca (Joan Hess) share a special bottle of brandy in “The Bridges of Madison County” presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley  April 4-29, 2018.
Photo credit: Kevin Berne

“The Bridges of Madison County” reigns at the Mountain View Center of Performing Arts. The musical is based on the novel by Robert James Waller that held the New York Times first-place bestseller spot for an unbelievable 164 weeks. It was adapted for the stage (after Clint Eastwood made a film) by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winning playwright Marsha Norma. It’s score by Jason Robert Brown won for Best Musical Score for 2014.

Superbly directed by TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley, “Bridges” tells the story of Francesca Johnson, (a supreme Joan Hess), an Italian war bride brought to America in 1965 by her military veteran farmer husband – Bud, (a formidable Timothy Gulan). She tells of her life in her opening song “To Build a Home.” The past 18 years have become routine with two active teens. When her husband and kids leave for a 4-H competition, she chooses to stay home for the four days and enjoy a little solitude and relaxation, always dreaming of one day returning to visit her home and family in Naples. Robert Kincaid (Rob Richardson, a rugged face with an exceptional voice,), a National Geographic photographer stops by for directions to a bridge he needs to photograph. The subtle meeting moves into a touching four-day love affair with moments of delicate passion interjected with human emotions that neither wants to end or to be parted from. Choices must be made.

“The Bridges Of Madison County” can boast of an above average cast with Marge the nosey neighbor (Maureen McVerry) and her husband Charlie, (Martin Rojas Dietrich), Carolyn (Jessia Hofman), and Michael (Matt Herrero) their vigorous teen children.

Wilson Chin (formerly a Redwood city local) designed a free-flowing set that moves effortlessly by people as scenes changed from of the Iowa farm country and the well-lived in farm house. Pamila Z. Gray delightfully lights from early morning to evening with a star-filled sky. Musical Director William Liberatore carries his 10-piece orchestra throughout the performance with his usual upscale conducting

The real luminary of the show is Robert Kelley’s sensitive, delicate direction of “The Bridges Of Madison County.” He is a master of attention to detail and placement of his characters that bring out his utmost creative capabilities.

“The Bridges Of Madison County” is well worth the trip to TheatreWorks in Mountain View, for a heart-touching story of a love affair. Go enjoy

DETAILS

“The Bridges Of Madison County”

Presented by TheatreWorks

Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes with one intermission

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Castro and Mercy Streets, Mountain View

Through – April 29

Tickets: $40-$100

For tickets and information call (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org

Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds is the theater columnist for the Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy LIfe newspapers. She has performed on Broadway and traveled around the world. She can be reached at: bounds17@gmail,com