MSMT's bright 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'

Posted Sunday, July 20, 2014 in Culture

MSMT's bright 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'
by Gina Hamilton

BRUNSWICK -- Maine State Music Theater's production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is purely a delight.
We are not sure what was the best part of the performance; the sets were wonderful, with growing fir trees, changing seasons made realistic by a talented new lighting artist, moving wooden sets that turn the cabin inside out, and moving wagons and rafts.

The seven brides and seven brothers, and even the hapless town boys who lose their belles to the boys from the woods, were all wonderful, including Carson Twitchell, who had to step in to play the role of Caleb at the very last minute, when the actor originally cast broke a bone in his foot during a late rehearsal.

But the dancing steals the show. Choreographer Karl Warden put on an amazing show, and no one in the chorus lines missed a beat.

The musical is set in the Oregon Trail days. Milly (Heidi Kettenring) lost both parents to the Trail, but finds employment when she arrives in town. Adam (Jarid Faubel) comes to town to do some trading, and decides he needs a wife. The two meet and marry without knowing a thing about one another, and Milly soon learns she's married seven brothers.
Determined to fix that situation, she teaches them manners and dancing, and off they go to a town social. All is going well, but one of the town boys knocks Adam down, and the rest of the brothers (Karl Warden, Carson Twitchell, J. Morgan White, Michael R. Clement, Eric Sciotto, and Alex Larson) start a full-fledged brawl.

Banished from town, the girls they were interested in begin to look at the less handsome and less interesting town boys again, but Adam comes up with another plan -- kidnapping the girls until they agree to marry the brothers.

In reality, the brides (Merrill West, Shanna Heverly, Samantha Hewes, Sarah Marie Jenkins, Jessica Lawyer, and Tara Lynn Steele) probably wouldn't have been terribly difficult to convince to run away, but they were never given the option. When they get them back to the farm, after causing an avalanche, sealing the pass, Milly is furious. She banishes the boys to the barn for the winter, and Adam, furious with Milly, stomps to live in his trapping camp.

But spring brings many changes to the woods, and by the time the pass opens, the girls and boys have come back together, and have to face the music as the families come storming up the pass, looking for their missing daughters.

But this is a musical, and musicals end happily, in this case, with a large wedding and a new baby.

And of course, there's another excuse to break out in joyful dance and song. With the parents' begrudging blessing, the new families begin their new lives in the beauty of a newly opened wilderness.

Go and see 'Seven Brides'. Whether you enjoy ballet, tap, modern, or folk circle dancing, you'll find something that will make you want to join the dance in this show.

Visit  www.msmt.org for showtimes and ticket information, but don't delay. This show will sell out, and probably sooner rather than later.

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