Musicals


                              

                                                                              

On This River

Graphics by Jennifer Love © 2009

 

THE PRODUCTION

  On This River, an original full-length musical by Cinzi Lavin, premiered on location in March 2009 at the Weir River Estuary Center in Hull, Massachusetts, and reprised in July of the same year at Fort Revere Amphitheatre in Hull. Playing to sold-out houses and standing-room-only crowds, the performances enjoyed instant acclaim and showcased the considerable talents of the men, women, and children of the Hull Performing Arts. The production was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In June 2009, the Hull Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to make one of the show's songs, "Underneath a Hullonian Sky," the official Town Song of Hull, making Hull one of the few Massachusetts towns with its own song. In March 2010, On This River received the Massachusetts Cultural Council "Gold Star" award for outstanding contribution to Massachusetts arts and culture.

THE STORY

  Described as "a musical celebration of life" by Lavin, On This River was created to raise funds and awareness for the Weir River Estuary, a unique and vital ecosystem which has been designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) by the state of Massachusetts. The story involves a small group of adults, teenagers, and children who, with a scientist (who is studying the estuary) and a poet (hoping to draw creative inspiration from the surroundings), spend a day and night at the Weir River Estuary, learning about the history of the site and the amazing life-forms which inhabit it. The first musical number in the production is "Millie's Waltz," addressed to Hull Wind II, a wind-turbine which locals refer to as "Millie." A subsequent piece done in traditional British march-style honors the memory of the early English settlers, while the Native American-inspired song, "Wewes, Wawpatucke," features lyrcs in the indigenous Wampanoag tribal language. Other songs include solos by animal characters as well as "My Heart is Yours," (a love song from the animals to the estuary itself). This is followed by a  song about the fleeting nature of time (both for humans and the environment) which offers the high-energy highlight of the performance. "On This River," a slow and deeply moving song about the Weir River precedes "Underneath a Hullonian Sky," the musical's soaring finale. The importance of conservation of the Weir River Estuary and respect for its unique and beautiful living creatures is highlighted as part of an overall invitation for the audience to realize the tremendous importance, both to New England's ecological framework and in its own right as a charming vantage-point for the appreciation of nature. 

THE SONGS

  • "Millie's Waltz"
  • "His Great-Grandfather Was a Good Raccoon"
  • "A Lady Who's Down On Her Luck Again"
  • "These Happy Spirits Here With Me"
  • "Wewes, Wawpatucke" ["Owl, Canadian Goose"]
  • "My Heart Is Yours"
  • "Time"
  • "On This River"
  • "Underneath a Hullonian Sky

 

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Toilers of the Sea:

The Life of Joshua James

Graphics by Jennifer Love © 2010

THE PRODUCTION

  Debuting in July of 2010 to a packed house with performers receiving a standing ovation on opening night, Toilers of the Sea:
The Life of Joshua James was destined to be a success. The show was generously funded by a grant from the Hull Cultural Council, and curators at the Hull Lifesaving Museum had graciously offered advice and guidance about the life and character of Joshua James during the scriptwriting process, checking it carefully for historical accuracy after its completion. Boasting a cast of high-calibre local talent (many of them veterans of On This River) and masterfully directed by Lindsay Clinton of the Hull Performing Arts, Toilers of the Sea received mention in the Boston Globe. Furthermore, the cast was invited to sing selections from the musical at a U.S. Coast Guard commemorative ceremony honoring Captain James and all coastal lifesavers. Most noteworthy, however,  was the distinction of having Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Guthlein, the Ancient Keeper of the Coast Guard--a singular position of the highest prestige, passed down through the years in memory of James--perform a cameo role in the production.   

THE STORY

  Toilers of the Sea tells the exciting and powerfully moving story of Joshua James, the famed lifesaver from Hull, Massachusetts who became the most highly decorated civilian lifesaving crew commander in United States history. This carefully researched biographical drama is a thrilling step back in time that reveals the multifaceted hero who personally saved over 600 individuals and took part in scores of life-threatening rescues at sea. Says Lavin, "I believe that Joshua James' most important legacy by far was his unwillingness to allow himself to be defined by his tragedies," she says, adding, "He refused to focus on his helplessness in the face of adversity and spent his life compassionately and purposefully doing what he could do for others."

THE SONGS

  • "Toilers of the Sea"
  • "The Spiritual Sailor"
  • "Let the Sea Rescue Me"
  • "The Water Is Wide"
  • "If He Be a Hero"
  • "Farther and Farther Still"
  • "O, Nantasket!"
  • "Sailor's Song"
  • "Black the Waves"

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 Where the Fun Begins

Graphics by Jennifer Love © 2011

THE PRODUCTION

  As the final installment in Cinzi Lavin's "Nantasket Trilogy," Where the Fun Begins enjoyed tremendous anticipation. The most technically ambitious of her three musicals, it would feature spectacular dance numbers created by Plymouth's preeminent choreographer, Nicole Hoole, and direction by the wildly imaginative Lindsay Clinton, who previously directed Lavin's On This River and Toilers of the Sea. Boasting the largest Hull Performing Arts cast of all three shows and performed at breathtaking Fort Revere Amphitheatre, the show was graced with an exceptionally generous grant by the Hull Cultural Council. "Writing the music from each decade of Paragon Park's existence was an incredibly exciting challenge," says Lavin, who composed a rag, a 20s jazz number, a 60s groove tune, and an 80s rock song, among others. As for the script, she says, "In trying to come up with a plot, I realized that an amusement park was the ultimate backdrop for a morality play--a classic, archetypal battle between good and evil. My main characters represent average people, and the park is like a miniature world of its own."

THE STORY

  Inspired by firsthand personal accounts of those who knew and loved Hull's famous amusement attraction, Paragon Park, Where the Fun Begins is a dazzling musical drama that captures the spirit of the cherished Massachusetts entertainment venue that drew millions of visitors from 1905 until its closing in 1984. With songs representing each decade's musical style, the audience is transported back in time, from the heyday of Boston's wealthy elite enjoying seaside delights to the 1980s, with the park's eventual demise during harrowing times. Through the fictional tale of Sully Sullivan (a charming pickpocket), a humble drama unfolds which introduces Doreen and Kenny Clare (a loving couple), Sharon (their troubled daughter), Peggy Quinn (Doreen's physically challenged sister), and Voland, an ominous and menacing crime-lord who threatens to destroy Sully and all he holds dear. Says Lavin, "Where the Fun Begins is about the triumph of faith during hard times and is ultimately a story of redemption." Faced with the most fearsome enemy he has--his own lies--Sully makes a desperate decision to free himself from evil and learns that doing the right thing is the most difficult yet most liberating thing of all.

THE SONGS

  • "On the Carousel"
  • "Paragon Park Rag"
  • "Easy Come, Easy Go"
  • "Dark Ride"
  • "This Is Where the Fun Begins"
  • "Spinning Softly In the Sky"
  • "The Ride of Our Lives"
  • "Color Me Gone"
  • "I Caught a Case of the Blues"
  • "This Is Why the Sun Rises Every Day"
  • "Honor Among Thieves"
  • "Until the Light Fades"

     

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