Storm Headed for Three Point

by publicationarchive

Starbuck said that he could make the rains come but the rainmakerdeclined to comment about the heat; however, most folks around thetown of Three Point seem to think that a good rain will help ease theheat as well. They have no use for a trickle, drizzle or an Aprilshower. What they want is a darn-good soaker, a downpour, agully-washer.

A high pressure system dominated the weather pattern at the DonPowell Theatre recently, giving way to clear skies and intense heat.The stage temperatures hit the triple digits and it was reported tobe as hot as “110 in the Shade.”

Scale and perspective for the play are accomplished by good use oflighting on a back screen and prop hills set in the background. Theuse of telephone poles completes the effect and the stage gives wayto an image of dusty rolling hills.

With the stage set, the nearly empty water tower, is opened forthe day’s water ration. Although rain is the order of the day, therainmaker has more up his sleeve than a torrent of water. He is asoothsayer of hopes, a weaver of dreams and when he arrives at thedusty little country town the folks there are ready to listen. Well,most of them.

Through song and dance, the cast of “110 in the Shade” tells atale of promise in a small mid-western town.

Lizzy Curry (Merideth Kaye Clark) arrives home to Three Point.Considered plain, Lizzy doesn’t hold much hope for her prospect atmarriage. Her self-doubt is confirmed by her father, H.C. Curry (VonSchauer), when he tells her she would always have the house to livein.

Sheriff File (Michael Elliott) has problems of his own. File hasbeen living a lie by saying his wife died. Of course, all the townknows his wife up and left him. The sheriff can’t seem to admit thatfact.

Now, Lizzy is sweet on File, but she doesn’t really know what todo about it since Sheriff File won’t give her more than the time ofday. Lizzy’s father and brothers Noah (Leslie Alan Coates) and Jimmy(Matthew DeMeritt) try to help. They mean well, but just get in theway.

The residents of Three Point, along with the plot, are throwntogether at a picnic for the town. Soon, Starbuck (Greg Thompson)happens by, declaring that he can bring what the townfolk want –some rain. What he sells them is a dream. Although Thompson’sStarbuck is weak in the beginning, he finishes with all the voice andflair a con man needs to sell his con. Grinning with excitement andstick in hand, Starbuck conducts the crowd, directing them with fineprecision.

Lizzy isn’t sold, but her father is, and pays the $100 fee for therain. Starbuck sends Jimmy off with a bass drum to call in thethunder and H.C. starts painting a large arrow with magnetic paint sothe rain will be attracted to the town. Most importantly, Starbuckasks the town folk to believe.

The duets by Clark and Elliott and Clark and Thompson arestirring, and their voices complement each other. The conduction ofthe orchestra by Dr. Terry O’Donnell and the choreography with theplayers on stage is extremely well done. The music completes thesong, is a companion for the voice, and doesn’t overpower the vocals.When Clark sings there is a tone quality and resonance in her voicethat is reminiscent of Judy Garland.

One of the most charming pieces, “Little Red Hat,” is sung by CariBell as Snookie Updegraff and Matthew DeMeritt as Jimmy Curry. Bellperformed with that delightful Betty Boop quality in her voice thatmakes you fall in love with the allure of the character, Snookie.DeMeritt’s antics and style round-out the charm inherent in the song.DeMeritt’s performance in the play is notable and many in theaudience commented about it. The play would not have been as goodwithout him.

Now the drum beats have sounded and the fresh paint has been laid.Sheriff File searches for Starbuck and the town tries to mislead himin his search. Lizzy tries to hide Starbuck, but the persistent Filesoon has his man. That is, until the crowd talks him into releasinghis prisoner. Starbuck returns the money and starts to leave just asthe rain starts to fall.

Oh brother, does it rain! The rain falls onto the stage, makingthe orchestra pit more like the splash seats at Sea World. The workof the production staff is evident in the scenic design, costumes,lighting, and the waterworks. With a great cast and great direction,”110 in the Shade” is an enjoyable musical for all.