Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Jesse Tuck, Sarah
Charles Lewis as Winnie Foster & Terrence Mann as Man in the Yellow Suit
Reviewed by Eugene Paul
the best of all possible worlds, Tuck Everlasting should turn out to be
a big, welcoming hit for everybody, especially families with children, playing
forever at the welcoming Broadhurst, home to the nicest staff in town (thank
you, Jerry, thank you, Janice, thank you all) (didja ever have a sciatica
attack in the middle of a show?) The show comes close – well why shouldn’t it,
award winning director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw at the top of his form
staging an electrifier rowser that fires up the first act, and in the second, a
haunting, enchanting, utterly satisfying ballet capturing the entire show. In
between, a cast that can do no wrong, especially the wrongest of them, show
stopper Terence Mann as the serpentine, evil, lecherous, avaricious, snake oil
salesman, the Man in the Yellow Suit, funny and frightening. Costume designer
genius Gregg Barnes creates this epitome of funny malevolence, along with a
wealth of costumes that tell stories, from delicate to bodacious. And then,
there’s set designer Walt Spangler’s enchanting story book settings.
Everything grand for a big hit, right? Well, almost. What do you do when
there’s too much of a good thing? (Now, isn’t that a nice complaint…)(And isn’t
that what the show’s about…)
Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Jesse Tuck, Robert
Lenzi as Miles Tuck, Sarah Charles Lewis as Winnie Foster & Carolee
Carmello as Mae Tuck
of all, you have to meet the Tucks, Mae Tuck (splendid Carolee Carmello), she’s
this fey, mother, and Angus Tuck (grand Michael Park) is her story book, wild
husband. They’re the parents of glowery Miles ( big voiced Robert Lenzi) and
their “teen ager” baby boy Jesse (endearing Andrew Keen-Bolger). Thing is: boy
Jesse may look 17 but he’s really 117 years old. And that’s the problem.
Writers Claudia Shear and Tim Federle have taken Natalie Babbitt’s widely
popular children’s story (2,000,000 copies!) and fashioned it into a widely
appealing musical with the sterling help of Chris Miller”s countrified music
and Nathan Tysen’s neatly fitted lyrics.
the Tucks have drunk from the secret spring in the woods that belong to eleven
year old Winnie Foster (Sarah Charles Lewis) and her parents – well, her
widowed mother (Valerie Wright) and her Nana (Pippa Pearthree) still in
mourning for Winnie’s father, and Victorian mourning goes on and on. None of
Winnie’s family, not even Winnie, knows about the secret spring, the spring of
eternal life. Only the Tucks know, always having to hide or move when people
notice they’re not getting any older. Which is why they’ve been living in these
woods. Winnie, who has run off to the woods, tired of being in a house of
mourning, spies Jesse sitting up on a branch of a tree, thinks he’s a
seventeen year old heart throb, has an instant crush and Jesse thinks she’s
kind of wonderful, too, but since she’s only eleven, he’ll wait until she’s
seventeen . No time at all. If you’re a Tuck. He’s tired of always having to
hide. What would be the harm of him going with young Winnie to the carnival
that just came into town. He could be—seventeen. For a little while.
Man in the Yellow Suit has come with the carnival, too. And has his own
carnival trick. He looks into a person’s eyes and tells them how old they are.
Of course, Winnie wants Jesse to look into the eyes of the Man in the Yellow
Suit, and he does and the MITYS is astounded. Jesse runs off, pulling Winnie.
Old Yellow Suit follows. He must know why, how, seventeen year old Jesse is a
hundred and seventeen. He’ll do anything for that secret.
by Joan Marcus
writers Claudia Shear and Tim Federle have so much to tell us up front that it
takes a while for things to liven up but when they do, you’re pulled into their
story. Your story. All of us wonder at some point what it might be like to
live forever and when young Winnie stays with the Tucks, she’s reluctant to go
back to her sad reality. But which is more enchanting? How could it be
everyday life? With all its burdens? Or is it eternity? Ah, but to live
forever has it burdens, too. Eleven year old Winnie has to choose. And all of
the audience is rapt choosing. Nothing quite like it.
At the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th Street. Tickets:
$59-$147.212-239-6200. 2:30 hrs. Open run.