Why Bridges of Madison County Deserves More

  It would be impossible to find a person who is not a fan of Meryl Streep. She is an actor almost everybody else can take tips from. It would be difficult for any actresses to step into her shoes, and play a part almost as well as she did, but Kelli O’Hara, who plays Francesca Johnson in the newest musical of Bridges of Madison County, has done a praiseworthy job.   This new musical might be the best version of the book yet. It’s a wonderful interpretation and it’s got some powerfully moving performances by Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. It’s a beautifully intimate production, with an 18 member cast. It’s got really simple stage instructions and sets- and that just makes the production dearer. There is nothing distracting one from the lucid emotions so wonderfully portrayed by Francesca and Robert. Jason Robert Brown, who composed the score for the musical, had actually written Francesca’s part with O’Hara in mind, and it shows.   Seeing O’Hara and Pasquale on stage is a treat. Their trauma, and their love feels so real, it is impossible to think that they are just actors. Pasquale’s interpretation of Robert’s character is rather impressive, especially since he brings out the inner sadness and melancholy that led Robert to Francesca in the first place.   Bridges of Madison County has never been better, yet, the musical seems to be drawing fewer crowds than it should. It’s certainly the most intimate play in Broadway right now- the lack of flashy showmanship might be a downer for a few people. The musical also lacks any big Hollywood names, even though it has some class- A actors. The musical might not be doing too well right now, but there is a chance that it will do better, once the Tonys are announced....

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