Review: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers": Love at 1st Sight Multiplied by 7!

Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook presents

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SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS
At 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Based on the MGM Film and "The Sobbin' Women" by Stephen Vincent Benet
Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Gene de Paul
New songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Music direction by Roberta Duchak
Directed by Bill Jenkins
Wednesdays & Thursdays 1:30pm and 8:00pm,
Fridays 8:00pm
Saturdays 5:00pm and 8:30pm
Sundays 2:00pm and 6:00pm
Thru December 19th 
BUY TICKETS
Running Time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

Hot backwoodsman falls for a towngirl... multiply that by seven.  Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook presents SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, a musical love story multiplied by seven.  It's 1850 in Oregon.  A mountaineer comes to town for his annual supplies:  tobacco, coffee and a wife.  A local gal is tired of waiting tables in the village tavern.   Relishing the idea of taking care of just one man, Milly agrees to Adam's abrupt proposal.  Her dream plan has one problem... multiplied by seven.   Upon arrival in her new home, Milly discovers Adam failed to mention his six live-in brothers.   The household is wildly unsophisticated and anything but gender neutral.   Milly sets out to transform the crude Pontipee clan into husband material.  SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is love-at-first-sight... multiplied by seven.

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The light-hearted frolic is staged with some interesting moves.  Director Bill Jenkins adds dimensionality to the simplistic.  He utilizes the orchestra pit as a stage entrance.  Even after seeing it used once, people emerging from below the stage continues to surprise.  In addition, the unseen boys' dorm room becomes an imagined visual with offstage-onstage conversations.  In this musical, it's more dance and song than song and dance.   Tammy Mader choreographs large dance numbers with whimsical athleticism.  Mader wonderfully promenades the masses from waltzes to pirouettes with intermittent brawls.  During a social, the brothers plus the girls plus the townsfolk add up to a complicated AND HUGE dance off. Girls are thrown over heads.  Axes are jumped over.  Arm wrestling is incorporated.  Add in a magnificent plush backdrop of the Oregon mountains by Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet, the visual spectacle is an exhausting mating ritual whirlwind. 

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At the heart of it, it's all about attraction between two people.  And this show is in heat.  The sexual frustration is volcanic multiplied by seven.  Leading the passionate singing and kissing, Steve Blanchard (Adam) and Abby Mueller (Milly) set the mood for lovin'.  Sure, they have their problems.  He takes her for granted.  She tries to change him (and his brothers).  He leaves her.  She waits for him. The simplicity of the storyline isn't a relationship guidebook for contemporary marriages.  But who cares?  SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is an old-fashion love story where a man and woman want to get married...for life... multipled by seven.  It's a charming tale with humor and affection. This talent cast is going courting and audiences will soon be smitten.

 

Production photographs courtesy of Brett Beiner. 

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