“Tuck Everlasting” captures hearts of young and old

Written by Nicole McLaughlin | Photography courtesy of Alliance Theatertuck

As they called out her name, a shy and seemingly emotionally overwhelmed woman sat while the theatre audience around her gave a standing ovation that was rivaled only by the principle actors at the end of the night.

For the world premiere of “Tuck Everlasting” at the Alliance Theatre, the cast, crew, and audience were esteemed enough to have Natalie Babbitt, author of the book in attendance. Written in 1975, the popular children’s book was adapted to a 2002 Disney movie and revamped for this 2015 family friendly musical directed by Casey Nicholaw.

Following more closely to the book than the movie, “Tuck Everlasting” the musical took to the story line with a softer touch about the hard facts of life and death. We are first introduced to the mysterious Tuck family with an opening musical number about their wishes to “live like this forever.” This first act might confuse some not familiar with the book, but it turns around quickly to introduce the young Winnie Foster, played by Sarah Charles Lewis, and her mother and grandmother, played by Liza Jaine and Shannon Eubanks respectively, for the true start of the musical.

The story follows the adventures of young Miss Foster as she quietly rebels against her uptight upbringing and unknowingly changes the course of her life forever. Jump-started by the appearance of the Man in the Yellow Suit, played by Terrance Mann, who offers Winnie a free fair token. When this promptly results in an argument with her mother, Miss Foster runs away into “her” forest and spies the perpetually young man, Jesse Tuck, drinking from a secret, powerful spring under a tree.

For fear of revealing the family’s secret, Mae (Carolee Carmello), Jesse (Andrew Keenan-Bolger), and Miles Tuck (Robert Lenzi) kidnap Winnie and roll her back to their home in hopes Angus (Michael Park) might know what to do with her.tuck 2

As the story progresses, the audience is filled with the Tuck’s backstory and the budding relationship between young Winnie and Jesse. After an almost disastrous trip to the fair, Jesse reveals the secret of his family’s immortality to Winnie in the hopes she will join him one day on everlasting adventures. All the while, the Man in the Yellow Suit overhears the entire conversation and tracks down Winnie and her family. Suspense builds as the Man in the Yellow Suit confronts the Tucks and Winnie becomes faced with the decision to drink from the spring of immortality or grow up and live her life.

The end of the play takes a different turn from the rest of the musical numbers with a simply hauntingly beautiful ballet number to illustrate the circle of life. An increasingly memorizing tale that draws the audience in, the family friendly musical takes the Alliance stage through Feb. 22.

For More Information: tuckeverlastingthemusical.com