Big River

"Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" runs today through Oct. 15 at Theatre at the Center in Munster.

Provided

Director Linda Fortunato is looking forward to bringing "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" to audiences.

Fortunato said she was atrracted to the show immediately after seeing a past production of the musical.

"I like the way the story is adapted into the play," said the director. "And the great subject matter of Mark Twain is hard to beat."

"Big River: The Adventures of Mark Twain" begins previews today and continues through Oct. 15 at Theatre at the Center in Munster.

The production tells the familiar tale of Twain's character Huck Finn, his adventures meeting various characters and con-men and the mishaps, fun times and interactions surrounding life along the river banks.

This rendition of the Huckleberry Finn story, being a musical, adds a different touch to the tale. Fortunato praised the production's songwriter, Roger Miller.

"Roger Miller has used a fun mix of musical styles," she said, adding he blends gospel, folk, country and bluegrass in the score.

"It's not a comedy, but it is an adventure," she explained about Twain's popular story. "It's a story that also has serious themes and lessons." One of the subjects tackled in the show, which people often forget about, is the question of the morality of slavery.

"The story is still relevant today," Fortunato said, about all of the societal and moral themes brought up in the work.

Fortunato said the musical's story is abridged for the stage but it's "true to the book."

"I think it's a show that audiences will enjoy," the director said. "Big River," she added, is a production that is definitely for families, although it's not labeled a "kids" show.

The director said the 14-member cast, which stars James Romney as Huck and Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Jim, is a strong talented team.

"I'm so thrilled with this group of people. (Actors) James and Jonathan are great together."

Fortunato said she is honored to be working with Twain's monumental story.

"I definitely want to honor the book and stay true to the book while still making it fresh for today's audience," she said.

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Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.