On paper, [Willliam Finn’s Elegies: A Song Cycle] sounds tragically sad (and, yes, you should bring a spare tissue). But there’s also joy and hope in the music, performed by the ensemble cast of Ben Clark, DeJeanette Horne, John Loughney, Katie McManus, Harrison Smith, and Brigid Wallace. Each performer brought a range of emotion (both joyful and sorrowful) to the various roles they played. Brigid Wallace’s rendition of “Anytime (I Am There),” which is one of the most underrated musical theatre numbers, was mesmerizing. I wish we would have seen more of Ben Clark, who appeared just at the beginning and end of the show, but whose talent shined.
Directed by Christina A. Cloakley, this production is fast-paced and clean. The minimalistic set, by Matthew J. Keenan, consists of a baby grand piano and a set of floor-to-ceiling sheer white curtains. It allowed the audience to be transported via projections inside apartments, to the park, and to New York City.
To be sure, Elegies deals with haunting subject material, but it’s presented in a way that doesn’t make you lose hope. As one of the final songs shares, “The ending’s not the story.”