Thursday, June 5, 2014

Under the Rainbow


Under the Rainbow written and composed by Alen Gerber was the one operatic performance at this year's Fringe. The show began with a young mother holding her infant son in a rainbow colored blanket. Crystal Lizardo, who played the mother was surprisingly petite yet her voice filled the huge Rep Theater. She sang a beautiful song in which she imagined her son's bright future.

Years later, her son is a grown man and he leads a human rights march for marriage equality. A church group lead by the minister of the mother's church is out to appose the march.  When tempers flair, a member of the human rights group is shoved to the ground. Sarah Purser played Grace, the injured activist and when the minister, Ricardo Dominguez, offers to help her, they sing together about what message, or lack thereof, the bible offers on gay life.

The mother conducts a chorus in church and then laments her son's sexuality. Being religious, she wants to protect her son from sure hell-fire, but she also wants to see her son to find happiness here on earth. Whereas most parents never accept a child's homosexuality, she finds solace in a hymns verse, "Where there is charity and love, God is there." In the end, she accepts her son as he is, and they embrace.

I went into the show with no preconceptions and was pleasantly surprised. The woodwind player unfortunately didn't check his reeds and thus he kept missing notes. The music as a whole was beautiful but not particularly memorable.  The main musical theme of the show was the exact chromatic inversion of the melody of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow". The shows message of open minded acceptance transcended any technical issues. There was a well deserved standing ovation.


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