The Incredibly Famous Willie Rivers
This is the propulsive story of a rock star who, after surviving a deranged fan's assassination attempt, is courted by corporate star-maker machinery to stage a long-awaited comeback. With the horror of returning to the spotlight ever present, Willy takes the audience on a wild ride through the relationships of his life on his quest to recover his family, his artistic voice, and the connection to his Heartland roots. A harrowing vision of our culture's need for that proverbial "15 minutes of fame," the ensemble of characters grapples with their own feelings of jealousy, fear, hurt, and awe of the "incredible fame" they see bestowed on Willy. This is an energetic, violent, hilarious and heartbreaking rock and roll story of one man's journey through fame, as he struggles to decide what is most important to him and what he must sacrifice.
Fine and strong performances marked Friday’s show, unfortunately, by all but the lead actor. His character, Willie Rivers is on stage 95% of the time and as he didn’t ‘own’ the stage or take charge of his scenes, it was not surprising that the pacing was ‘off’ and at times seem stilted. The actor, instead of filling the stage with the character’s rage, conflict, pain and despair, seemed apologetic, lost and confused. The supporting cast, my son included did all they could to provide the spark the lead actor couldn’t seem to muster.
M gets an opportunity to sing in this production and he is having much fun with the song. He did have some frustrating moments with the production company during rehearsals. Not being a trained musician, he sought support that they were not able to offer for some reason. Never-the-less he worked out his issues and was still able to perform his song with all the verve and gusto required for the scene. In my humble opinion, anyway.
I expect to see the show at least twice more before the end of the run, perhaps in that time the lead actor will have found a way to energize his performance. In any case, I get to see my actor man in one of his happiest places, the live theater stage. With moving day scheduled for Saturday, June 2, these might be my only sightings for the immediate future. I shall savor them, all the more.