New musical about love and loss among high schoolers features strong songs and terrific performances
EVERY SILVER LINING by Laura Piccinin and Allison Wither (Silver Lining Productions/Fringe). At the Al Green Theatre. Jul 6 at 9:15 pm, Jul 7 at 1 pm, Jul 9 at 6:15 pm, Jul 10 at 2:45 pm, Jul 11 at 5:15 pm, Jul 13 at 1:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN
High school student Clara (Allison Wither) deals with her brother Andrew’s (Daniel Karp) cancer treatment as well as the possibility of romance with new kid Ben (Taha Arshad) in this promising, if slightly derivative, new musical.
The show, directed by Jennifer Stewart, is strongest in its songs (music and lyrics by Wither) and the connections between the students, who include Clara’s BFF Emily (book writer Laura Piccinin), dim friend Bev (Jada Rifkin) and bros Jeremy (Joel Cumber) and Sam (Ben Skipper). The point that we never really know the people we see everyday comes across clearly.
The musical is less successful dealing with Clara and Andrew’s parents (Sara Stahmer and Dale Miller), who have little to do. Some staging moments feel awkward and unclear. And besides echoing the we-are-not-alone spirit of Dear Evan Hansen, the songs near the end feel sentimental.
But there are lots of catchy numbers, especially Cumber and Piccinin’s charming duet Noticing You. And the cast, headed by a nuanced, complex performance by Wither, is very good, even if the flashing-eyed, always watchable Cumber is the only singer with the pipes to project to the back of the house.