Glenn Hering, director of Chesterton’s 4th Street Theatre’s “The Bridges of Madison County,” expects some attendees to walk away from his production with introspective mindsets.
“The thing you want is the audience to watch this and to start thinking about who they are and what’s important in their life,” he said. “Are they living the life that they want to live or need to live? Are they opening themselves to the possibilities of life or are they repressing them? I think that’s where the story touches the audience members.”
Opening May 24 and running through June 9, “Bridges” is the tale of the brief but life-changing affair in the mid-'60s between Francesca Johnson, a wife and mother, and Robert Kincaid, an unattached National Geographic photographer who makes his way to Johnson’s rural Iowa town on assignment.
Inspired by the 1992 best-selling novel, “Bridges” was adapted as a musical for the stage by Jason Robert Brown, whose credits include acclaimed works such as “The Last Five Years” and “Parade.”
Featuring songs such as “Look at Me,” “Almost Real” and “Falling Into You,” “Bridges” made its Broadway debut in 2014 and took home a pair of Tony Awards, including Best Original Score for Brown.
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“The story is said to be simple, but it’s not,” Hering said. “What’s more important than the romance between them is the self-discovery that each one triggers in the other. She’s never met a man like him and he’s sort of an individualist. Without the complexity, it’s just a soap opera.”
Sheree Wheeler Gudeman is Johnson and Scott Sowinski is Kincaid in 4th Street Theatre’s “Bridges.” The pair leads a cast of more than a dozen thesps.
“We have a terrific cast,” Hering said. “I’ve rarely had a cast where the quality of singing throughout, from the leads to the ensemble, is this good … anybody coming to see it is going to be in for a couple hours of really nice music. We have a great band and terrific singers for this show.”
Next at 4th Street Theatre is the annual “Ten Minute Play Festival” scheduled for August.