Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
by Gilbert Fine Arts Association

Erica Smith and Kevin StuartMountain man Adam is a-fixin’ to grab himself a “beautiful hide” to wed so as she can take care of him and his six bachelor brothers up in their isolated farmhouse. So he’s come to town to look for a bride, and ends up taking a shine to Milly. She falls for Adam and is excited to start her new life with him, but is disappointed to find she’s been primarily chosen for cookin’, cleanin’, and birthin’ babies. She’s willing to put up with all of it, and even help out the brothers in the courtin’ skills. But if they’re ever going to have a happy home, Adam’s going to have to see his wife as something other than a farmhand.

This entertaining, dance-heavy musical comedy gets an impressive restaging by the Gilbert Fine Arts Association performing at the Mesquite Junior High School Auditorium. Tregoney Shepherd, the musical director and choreographer, has put together some fun, challenging, and right fancy dance numbers that the cast performs with liveliness and precision. Director Melody Stuart has the eye to capture all the show’s comic potential, and she’s assembled a highly talented group of both seven brides and seven brothers to do it all with.

As Adam, Kevin Stuart gets to be the oldest brother after growing up as the youngest among five boys, and he’s clearly at home in the new role with a good, prideful over-confidence and a smooth singing voice, leading his brothers into a frenzy in the hilariously staged Sobbin’ Women. Dobson High School senior Erica Smith stars as Milly, featuring a gorgeous vocal performance and a strong feel for the role as she deals with her husband’s lack of maturity and as she teaches her new, unrefined brothers-in-law the finer nuances of Goin’ Courtin’.

And then there are those other six brothers, and the six “brides” they court. A dozen triple threats who make sure the entire show is one of surprising humor and terrific dancing. Each couple manages to create a unique attachment to one another through just a few bits of spoken and unspoken dialogue. They include the aggressive Dorcus (Kristi Oakes) and the plum funny Benjamin (Nate Stuart), with Dorcus also leading the gals in the big, well-done June Bride number. Lauren Vanassche is a riot as the goofy Ruth who’s got it bad for her goofy counterpart Caleb (Ramsey Margison). The youngest couple, Alice (Carrie Braver) and Gideon (Braden Austin), have great chemistry with all the charmingly bashful eagerness going on, with Gideon also impressing as he rebukes Adam in Love Never Goes Away.

The other couples, consisting of Audry Sullivan and Ramsey Margison, Stephanie Larsen and Chris Hunt, and Sarah Hollands and Austin Stuart, make sure you know who goes with who even if their costumes weren’t matched, doing it with great flirty fun. Such as when they’re trying to play it cool during the long, cold winter, which includes the brothers attempting to literally work out their frustrations in We Got to Make it Through the Winter. And, of course, in the exuberant Social Dance where the entire cast shines. A good orchestra conducted by Marcus Denton keeps things lively, and Fight Coordinator Valerie Tanner does the same for the fightin’. Cuz hey, Goin’ Courtin’ ain’t for no sissy folk.

Performs November 7 - 15, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

~ The Brothers ~
Adam: Kevin Stuart
Benjamin: Nate Stuart
Caleb: Ramsey Margison
Daniel: Ryan Durfee
Ephraim: Chris Hunt
Frank: Austin Stuart
Gideon: Braden Austin

~ The Brides ~
Milly: Erica Smith
Dorcus: Kristi Oakes
Ruth: Lauren Vanassche/Tenae Hinrichs
Liza: Audry Sullivan
Martha: Stephanie Larsen
Sarah: Sarah Hollands
Alice: Carrie Braver

~ The Suitors ~
Preacher: Ammon Opie
Carl/Mr. Perkins: Kenton Durfee
Luke/Lem: Colin Gallacher
Matt: Ken Boelter
Joel: Thomas Huish
Zeke: Justin Durfee
Jeb: Javin Vincent

~ Townspeople ~
Mr. Bixby: Chris Humphrey
Mrs. Bixby: Cara Dodini
Preacher's Wife: Rebecca Bryce
Mrs. Perkins: Kathy McNeilly
Ensemble/Alternate: Tenae Hinrichs
Ensemble: Taryn Reed
Ensemble Children:
Holly Sullivan
Kayli Johnston
Alexa Stuart
Nicole Regulski
Ashley Regulski
Hunter Smith

Producer: Helen Hollands
Director: Melody Stuart
Musical Director/Choreographer: Tregoney Shepherd
Conductor: Marcus Denton
Fight Coordinator: Valerie Tanner
Set Design: Dane Burk
Costumes: Tamra Johnston and Barbara Stuart
Light Design: Joe Nask and Morgan Tanner
Sound Design: Ben Freedman


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