I came very close to loving Village Theatre’s original musical “Trails.”
I loved the music which had all the serenity and majesty of a forest trail. The score combined soaring and melodic tunes with music by Jeff Thomson and lyrics by Jordan Mann, and musical direction by R.J. Tancioco.
My favorite was the beautiful “Miles of Time,” delivered flawlessly by Kirsten deLohr Helland.
I also loved the set (scenic design Jen Zeyl). That mountain was a symbol to be reckoned with (the story takes place on the Appalachian Trail). And now I truly believe Village Theatre can build anything, whether it’s a mountain or the Mississippi River.
I also loved the acting. Joshua Carter was the perfect good son Seth. Dane Stokinger, who I have loved to watch perform since “Million Dollar Quartet,” never disappoints, and didn’t here as the confident Mike. Kirsten deLohr Helland played the kind of Amy that any guy would fall for, cute, encouraging, and adventurous – added bonus is a voice that kills.
But this is the point where I have trouble loving. The story these three actors find themselves in.
The storyline in “Trails” is about Seth and Mike and Amy, childhood friends who maybe love each other too much. They suffer through tragic twists and turns in their lives and Seth and Mike wind up walking the Appalachian Trail to help heal each other and forge on with their lives.
And dang it Christy Hall I feel bad about not loving this story. Writing is hard, hard work and I’m not sure what happened exactly. The twists and turns in the story seemed to get lost for me, or bungled up in the music or didn’t get revealed smoothly or clearly. I didn’t have that “Oh no” moment during the show, when you realize something went terribly wrong. I didn’t feel that impact.
Was it that I didn’t find the story that compelling or was it the execution of these revelations, letting the songs do too much of the explaining?
Or it could just be me. My theater companion wanted to go back a second time and take her husband.
When she and I left the theater we did talk about our sons, who are both 9 years old, and what kind of lifelong friendships lie in store for them. Would either of them meet an Amy in their lives? Will they have friends that last into adulthood? There was one line in the show that really had an impact on me and that was when Mike sang “I was an only child until that night.”
My son is an only child and I know how valuable his playmates are. I felt a lot more of a connection with the story once I started thinking about it through my “mom eyes.”
Like my friend, perhaps I should see “Trails” again as well, through a different set of eyes.
“Trails” runs at various times through May 19 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave.,Everett. Tickets start at $55. Call 425-257-8600 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.