Brittany Pierce-Caiazza’s Review of A Bright New Boise

July 12, 2019

Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop

The Rivoli Theatre

South Fallsburg

Josh Rosengrant, in his first full-length directorial debut, should be nothing short of proud of the production he has crafted of Samuel D. Hunter’s A Bright New Boise. He has assembled a very capable cast, designed a truly recognizable and believable set, and presented a production that literally has people talking days later. Kudos, Josh!

A Bright New Boise is an odd little play, one that has an ending left open to interpretation and discussion. Its synopsis is as follows: “A disgraced evangelical from Northern Idaho takes a job at a Hobby Lobby franchise in Boise, Idaho, in order to reconnect with an estranged son. But as his fellow employees begin to uncover dark secrets from his past, and his son becomes increasingly interested in his reasons for leaving his church, he must choose whether or not to have a normal life and a healthy relationship with his son, or hold onto the beliefs that have given his life meaning.” This said, there is a deeper discussion to be seen regarding relationships and perceptions we as humans have with strangers, and those within our own chosen circles. A Bright New Boise may be a little heavy-handed on the faith aspects, but it touches soundly on the humanity aspects, something that is of serious import in today’s world.

As Will, our disgraced evangelical, Keith Prince is a discomforting combination of unsure, quiet, and bubbling rage. He struggles to find balance within the character, but when he hits his stride, he is flying high. As his estranged son, Alex, Cole Phillips is every bit the angsty teen, down to the earbuds protruding from his sweatshirt and his nonchalant treatment of those around him. Teri Schwartz as Pauline, the stressed-out, conflict-resolution-phobic manager of Hobby Lobby, is just like a boss we’ve all had; she is believable and enjoyable. Kristopher Rosengrant as LeRoy is likable as the doting older brother and protector of Alex. He is most convincing when he is arguing with others, but you do truly feel his compassion for those around him. As Anna, Mekayla Rayne is a fast-talking, nervous whirlwind of energy. She has some of the more entertaining moments, and she embraces her role as the inner conscience of the show; she says what the audience is thinking and what you would imagine the other characters are feeling. This is truly an ensemble piece, and this cast works together flawlessly. You can tell they trust each other, and will work to make each other shine.

Was this a perfect production? No. There were microphone issues which left the audience straining to hear, and the final scene was a touch overdramatic (or was it? Perhaps this was to prompt audience discussion, which it has successfully done), but overall, the lighting was appropriate and the sound effects made sense. This is one of the best productions I have seen at the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop. Congrats to the cast and crew.

Performances are slated for Friday and Saturday, July 12, 13, 19, 20 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, July 14, 21 at 2:00 pm at the Rivoli Theatre, 5243 Route 42 (Main Street), South Fallsburg. Tickets are $15 for Adults, $12 for Seniors (60+), Students (with Valid ID), Military/Veterans. A Bright New Boise is being produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. and is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. For more information, phone (845) 436-5336 or log onto https://www.scdw.net/

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