TUCK EVERLASTING and THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE
TUCK EVERLASTING, the musical
Theatre of Youth
Script by Mark J. Frattaroli
Young Winnie Foster runs away from home and discovers the immortal Tuck family living in secret. Things become dangerous and complicated when a stranger starts tracking Winnie and the Tucks in an attempt to harvest the secret to immortality and make a fortune. When the Tucks become fugitives, Winnie must choose between joining them in immortality or returning home to a normal life.
Illustration by JP Thimot
Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 novel won a Christopher Award for Books for Young People in 1976 and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1978. It was made into two films and a Broadway musical. This is the third time Theatre of Youth has done an adaptation of the book.
In 2015, Babbitt told NPR she was inspired to write the book after a conversation she had with her young daughter: “She was very scared with the idea of dying. And it seemed to me that I could write a story about how it’s something that everybody has to do and it’s not a bad thing.”
In the 2002 film, Winnie is aged to fifteen years old so that the movie can capitalize on a love angle between Winnie and Jesse Tuck. The lesser known 1981 film appears to be more faithful to the book. Interestingly, it was shot in Western New York, with the ending filmed in Medina.
Tuck Everlasting, the musical, opened on Broadway in 2016 and closed—despite a Critic’s Pick review from the New York Times—closed after just twenty-eight previews and thirty-nine performances. Most reviews were tepid.
What they said:
“In a heartbeat, a life can change forever. Or, in the case of the Tucks, it can become forever. That’s what ten-year-old Winnie Foster discovers.
Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 children’s book Tuck Everlasting stirs up questions of growth and immortality, and the strength to handle both with grace and wisdom. These are heady themes for a grade-schooler (the book is standard fare for many fifth-grade classes), but Tuck is not a ponderous tale. Rather, it is like the Tucks themselves, plain as salt yet quirky enough to beguile.
Mark Frattaroli’s stage version is an almost word-for-word portrayal of the book, a blessing considering the richness of Babbitt’s prose.”
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Torn Space Theater
February 15-March 10
Written by John Cassavetes as a 1976 American crime film and adapted for a world premiere stage event by Torn Space Theater, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie follows Cosmo Vittelli who, $20K in debt, must navigate the seedy criminal world while maintaining a chummy disposition as the host of a house of pleasure. The stage adaptation introduces Mr. Sophistication, a counterpoint to Vittelli who Shanahan says “highlights the theme I am pushing in this project: everyone needs a facade to exist. The mobsters closing in on Cosmo have read The Godfather, Mr. Sophistication is aware of Broadway and knows he should be there if only, the dancing girls are played by drag queens and are just one break away from being out of this place. The facade that all the characters need is put on like bad makeup.”
Shanahan promises a Kristina Siegel-designed set that captures the world of the Sunset Strip with its saturated colors and streaks of light, and also provides the ability to mimic Cassavetes’ kinetic energy. “Kristina has deconstructed the film’s setting into a malleable set providing corridors and openings for characters to slip through, adjust and enter, and then reenter,”he says. “They are all in a trap and there is no getting out.”
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