Big River

Book by William Hauptman, songs by country legend Roger Miller, inspiration by Mark Twain.  Big River is the story of Huckleberry Finn set to music.  Firat produced in 1984 in Cambridge, Mass and San Diego, Cal, it played Broadway the following year in 1985.  Rene Auberjonois and John Goodman played the duke and Pap Finn, respectively.

This production at the WBT in Elmsford, produced by the Family Theatre Company, is, as always, worth the trip and the modest cost of the ticket.  Anthony Malchar as Huck is a standout, and FaTye plays a credible Jim.  It runs longer than it should, but when you have such rich material how do you figure what to cut?  Nevertheless, an audience should not have to sit so long to get what Huckleberry Finn is all about.  It is one thing to read a novel, put it down, pick it up again, and quite another to sit through the entire story with one intermission.

The acting is quite good for a young group;  the singing and five piece orchestra (actually a band) are decent, and the dancing is a highlight.  I could nit pick it all day, but the bottom line for me is enjoyment, and we did enjoy the play.  And, of course, the full course dinner and hospitality at the WBT is always great.