Comment: Call It Love: A New Musical, Stratford, Ont.

by Lynn on September 10, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live, in person, in concert, at the Stratford Perth Museum, 4275 Huron St. Stratford, Ont, until Sept. 12.

Music and lyrics by Chilina Kennedy

Book by Eric Holmes

Cast: Brandon Antonio

Dan Chameroy

Robert Markus

Jennifer Rider-Shaw

Yemi Sonuga

Because this is a workshop of this new musical, reviews were not requested, but comments would be fine.

From the show information with a bit of editing on my part:

“CALL IT LOVE is a new musical that follows Olivia as she finds herself in the hospital suffering from memory loss. As she goes through a series of tests, she dissects past relationships, and searches for the loss that caused her to wipe the slate clean. Her journey to self-love and forgiveness is shrouded in pain, but ultimately illuminates the joy and love that were never lost.”

Olivia (Jennifer Rider-Shaw) tries to remember what happened in her life with the help of a kind Nurse (Dan Chameroy). It slowly comes back. Olivia fell in love with Michael (Robert Markus) in college and they married. Olivia was unsettled and the marriage didn’t last. She had a fling with Thomas (Brandon Antonio) whom she met in a bar and the result was a child. Olivia also has a more serious relationship with Jess.

I found Chilina Kennedy’s music and lyrics stronger than Eric Holmes’ book in telling the story and creating characters. The music is varied in styles and genres; the lyrics are thoughtful, insightful and detailed in creating relationships and conveying emotions. I want to hear every single song again. Loved them.

I do think the part of Thomas should be expanded. He has a song but I don’t think the character, as written, has earned it. The Nurse appears throughout and deserves a song, and not just because Dan Chameroy plays him. The Nurse is a presence who is smart, sensitive, inquiring and I think deserves a number. The whole cast is dandy. A classy concert. I hope it’s expanded into a full musical.

Produced by Eclipse Theatre Company and Straighten Your Crown Productions.

Plays until: Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021.

Running Time: 1 hour.

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