David Poe and Holly Brook in the World Premiere of Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s Whisper House at The Old Globe, Jan. 13 – Feb. 21, 2010. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
Tony and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Duncan Sheik follows up his Broadway sensation, Spring Awakening, with this haunting new musical. It’s 1942 – at the height of World War II – and Christopher, an imaginative young boy, is sent to live with an aunt he’s never met: Lilly, a reclusive woman who serves as the keeper of a remote lighthouse. Not yet comfortable in his surroundings, Christopher begins to hear strange music no one else can hear seeping through the walls. It doesn’t take long for him to suspect the lighthouse may be haunted, and these ghosts tell him that Yasujiro, a Japanese worker that Lilly has employed, should not be trusted. Is Christopher’s imagination getting the best of him? Or are these ghosts warning Christopher about the very real dangers that lie ahead? Whisper House is a touching and beautiful story about how we should embrace, rather than fear, the unknown.
I mentioned last week that I went to see Duncan Sheik perform a concert at The Old Globe and was in complete awe of the show. A few days later I followed up by seeing the production of Whisper House and I cannot stress enough that everyone should go see this show. I don't really consider myself much of a theatre person mostly because, lets face it, it's not the cheapest form of entertainment. I tend to be skeptical when the word "musical" is attached, and even more so when child actors are involved. I know that is really weird, but the former makes me think of grating repetitive songs like "Oklahoma!" and the latter because they can be kind of annoying if their cuteness overpowers their stage skills. That said, this show is fantastic, and Eric Zutty, who plays Christopher, plays off his aunt Lilly's character perfectly (played by Mare Winningham who is a recognizable tv, film, and theatre actress). Since I don't want to be one of those people that tells you the ending, I really won't go more into the story than is described above, but truly, the ghosts and the songs they sing are the stars of this show. I felt the show presented a WWII story I hadn't heard before, but was also really relatable to the wars we are in today and how our leaders and lawmakers create a culture of fear. Additionally, though I saw the show four nights ago, the songs are still in my head...in this case a good thing... and they work in the story or as stand alone pieces of music. The simple set, the full band, the outstanding casting, and the beautiful soundtrack make for a perfect show that I would definitely see again.
For info on tickets, click here.
“Better to Be Dead”
“We’re Here to Tell You (Part 1)”
“We’re Here to Tell You (Part 2)”
“And Now We Sing”
“The Tale of Solomon Snell”
“Play Your Part”
“You’ve Really Gone and Done It Now”
“How It Feels”
“I Don’t Believe in You”
“Better to Be Dead”
“Take a Bow”
Listen to Whisper House