Today: Jul 06 , 2020

Big River on the PCA Main Stage

09 May 2018  

It’s Huck Finn as you’ve never imagined.

The Adventures of Huck Finn as told in the musical Big River is on the Prescott Center for the Arts Main Stage beginning Thursday May 10. 

Huck’s adventures begin with turmoil, as he is restrained by his guardians and abused by his father.  Huck seeks to escape through the companionship of Tom Sawyer and his gang of hooligans. Soon, fearing for his life, Huck flees to an abandoned island, only to discover his friend Jim, an escaped slave on the run. 

Worried a posse may try to capture Jim, the two escapees set out singing and dancing on a raft rolling down the river, headed towards certain freedom. Huck discovers himself through Jim’s guidance and humor. Along the way, they meet misadventures leading to Jim’s capture, and culminating in a reunion with Tom. Huck and Tom's daring plan to free Jim once more results in a crescendo of spirituals and laughter. 

This ambitious production at the PCA is directed by Catherine Miller Hahn. The live music onstage is from the All-Star “Mostly Mike” Band, conducted by Sandy Vernon. The 10 members play everything from piano to violin and banjo, accompanying the numerous songs and providing sound effects and incidental music.

Mark Twain himself, played by Ed Gates, narrates the story, keeping the action going from its beginning in Hannibal, Missouri to its conclusion in Arkansas. Playing the title character Huck is Logan Wolfe, who turns in a believable journey, as Huck discovers his conscience. William Larson plays Tom Sawyer as a lively young man with charisma and too much imagination. Jim, the escaping slave, is Aron Crisp. Mr. Crisp does very well singing some of the best known songs from the show, such as Muddy Water, River in the Rain and Free at Last. Other notable performances are Marilyn Hill Carter as Alice, and the two con men, the Duke and the King, played by Frank Malle and Jonathan Perpich. 

The staging for this show uses simple but effective props to suggest the various locations for the action as it moves down the river. The costumes are also quite good, unfussy but distinctive.

One feature of the show is the large cast, who manage to move on and off and around the stage without seeming to crowd the space. 

This is a sweeping tale based on Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn featuring music by Roger Miller and book by William Hauptman, it received Tony awards for best musical in 1985 and for best musical revival in 2003.

If You Go:

What: Big River
Who: Prescott Center for the Arts 
Performances: Thursday May 10; Friday May 11; Saturday May 12 and Thursday May 17 at 7:30 pm $16/$23

Sunday May 13 (Mother’s Day) at 2:00 pm  $14/$19

For Tickets go online to Prescott Center for the Arts.