Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Love blooms - again, and again, and again, and again ...

Those who are intrigued with the glamour of show business should try on Alicia Albright's life.

Albright, who plays Milly, the female lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, was calling to promote the show that will be at the Valentine Theatre Saturday for two performances.

She was at a Wal-Mart somewhere in Alabama, where the cast bus had stopped for lunch en route to their next show in Florida.

With a train whistle sounding in the background, she laughed.

"Glamorous it's not, but it's fun," she said.

"The hardest thing about being in theater is when you don't have a job. That's the real work: trying to get a job despite all the rejection. It's very it hurts your heart because you love it so much. So when you do get the opportunity to do a show, it's just amazing.

"But at the same time, it's not as glamorous as people think. Like today, we got up at 5:30 in the morning and got on the bus. We drive all day, then we have a show. But it's worth it, because you love it."

The show she loves, Seven Brides, is based on the 1954 musical that starred Jane Powell and Howard Keel. Albright has the Jane Powell role.

The story is the tale of the Pontipee brothers - Adam, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank, and Gideon - who live in the backwoods of 1850s Oregon. Adam is headed for town on a mission. He's the eldest, and he needs a bride. More to the point, he needs a cook, laundress, and maid, and a wife would be a whole lot cheaper and more fun. Adam is not a sensitive, New Age kind of guy.

In town, he meets and courts Milly, who decides to take a chance on love. They are wed and head off to their little cabin in the woods, where she learns to her dismay that Adam forgot to mention the rest of the family.

But Milly is up to the challenge, and she decides that what the brothers need are brides of their own, so she sets out to make them presentable.

Unfortunately, the townsfolk don't take kindly to the Pontipees' intentions and, after a fight at a church social, the Pontipees are banished from town. After watching his brothers mope around for a month, Adam comes up with a plan. The plan ultimately succeeds, but it nearly costs Adam the love of Milly.

Seven Brides, which opened on Broadway in 1982, is close to the movie, Albright said. Most of the changes have to do with the music. Several of the original songs by Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer have been dropped, and some new ones written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschorn have been added.

"Sadly, 'Lonesome Polecat' is one that did not make it into the stage version," Albright said. "We keep saying, 'Can we put it in please? It's one of the best numbers.' They normally don't have 'June Bride,' either, but they added it for our version. And "Wonderful, Wonderful Day" is a little bit different in the stage production than in the movie, but it's still there."

Among those new to the show is "One Man," which Milly sings after learning about Adam's family. "She feels embarrassed and upset because they basically want her to clean the house and cook and everything. [The song] tells how she realizes Adam is still the man that she wants to be with. ... She's so determined to make it work. She's not going to give up. She found that one man for her," Albright said.

Another new one is "A Woman Ought to Know Her Place," which Adam sings. "It's not a very nice song, if I do say so myself, but it sounds beautiful," Albright said.

Albright said that Seven Brides for Seven Brothers isn't updated for modern sensibilities, but it doesn't need to be.

"In my mind, I think that Milly is a feminist. She's definitely a character of that time period, but she says what she wants to say, she talks back, she's not afraid of the men. [Adam] kind of gets mean to her sometimes, but she stands her ground. She knows in her heart that he's a good person."

Seven Brides is another in a long string of revivals to hit Broadway and the national tour circuit. Just this season, Toledo theaters have presented Crazy for You, Grease, and 42nd Street, and Albright sees the trend continuing.

"Remembering wonderful things from the past and bringing them back it seems like that's a big thing right now."

Besides, she said, if it's a show that people already know and love, they'll want to come to the theater to be part of it.

Albright, who is 26, has been acting professionally for about three years.

"I've come from a bunch of shows. I've done a couple European tours of Jesus Christ Superstar and I just finished with a production of A Chorus Line in Houston, and I did a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat a little while ago, so I kind of hop around. Luckily things are going really well so far."

One of the reasons that Albright is so enthusiastic about Seven Brides is that she believes there's some substance to it.

"Some of the older shows can sometimes seem a little more fluff," she said, but this one teaches the theme of working at a relationship.

And for audience members who are too young to care about relationships, there's still plenty to see, she said.

"Especially the big dance numbers like the church social and the big wedding dance at the end, that's exciting. This is a show that people of all ages could come and see. I love it. When I'm not on stage, I still watch the show from the wings."

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is scheduled at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $30, $43, and $52, and tickets for the 8 p.m. show are extremely limited. Information: 419-242-2787.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.

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