Review: Tuck Everlasting at Coterie



Aurelia Power (as Winnie Foster), Gary Neal Johnson (as Angus Tuck), and Tyler Rowe (as Miles Tuck) in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and adapted by Mark J. Frattaroli. Directed by Jeff Church. Live on stage at The Coterie, February 27 - April 5, 2018.

Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of Coterie Theatre.

Natalie Babbitt's award-winning best-selling novel Tuck Everlasting is the newest production to grace The Coterie Theatre's stage. Her story has been beloved by generations.

The concept has captured imaginations for centuries, from Ponce de Leon on his crusade to discover a fountain of youth, to the tales of Benjamin Button and Dorian Gray, writers and folk tellers have explored the mystery of a fountain of youth or immortality. Babbitt's story explores the idea of a magical spring that grants those who drink from it both eternal life and a life in which they never age. She tells the tale through the eyes of 12-year-old Winnie Foster who stumbles upon the Tuck family in the wood and learns from them the burdens and blessings of their curse. The Tucks did not realize that drinking from the spring would make them immortal or that they would not age. Once they realized that is what happened, they'd also begun to realize that this event was not without consequence. To be forever seventeen, one might never marry and raise a family. To be forever twenty-two, one might not grow old with a wife and come to love grandchildren. To be forever older parents, one may see all your friends pass away while you remain. And, to never age or die for more than a century, one draws suspicions from the neighborhood. The Tuck family faces the blessings and consequences of the immortality as they explain to Winnie the secret and why it must stay a secret.

The plot faces a twist when it is believed that the Tuck family kid-napped young Winnie and attempts are made to return her to her family. Winnie finds herself facing a decision, to drink from the spring or not... after learning from the Tucks of their experience, what will she choose?

The adventurous, thought-provoking, and charming story holds mystery and intrique for the audience. Many in the audience will be familiar with the tale, having read the popular book or watched one of the feature film. The cast adeptly presents the familiar material.

Gary Neal Johnson, beloved for his role as Ebeneezer Scrooge in The Kansas City Rep's annual production of The Christmas Carol, as well as many other local stage productions, plays Tuck family patriarch Angus. Johnson's scenes in the boat with Winnie are sincere and thoughtful. His role as family patriarch adds warmth and depth to the production. Nancy Marcy is a favorite on the Coterie stage and she is thoughtful and strong as matriarch Mae Tuck. The young actors, Fisher Stewart (Jesse Tuck) Tyler Alan Rowe (Miles Tuck) and Aurelia Power (Winnie Foster) all offer wonderful and heartfelt performances. Fisher, who happened to star in The Adventures of Frog and Toad, my oldest daughter's first CYT production, has grown to be a talented actor and he entertains the audience as the young Jesse, who shows such exuberance for life he's prone to back flips and handstands. 

Tuck Everlasting is at once a fantasy, a mystery, and a drama. It explores weighty themes of life and death, and it leaves the audience with many discussion topics for the ride home. Fans of the book will enjoy this theatrical adaptation. Those who haven't read the book yet, will be curious to check it out from their local library soon.

This show is a perfect production to enjoy over Spring Break. Catch Tuck Everlasting at The Coterie Theatre (Level I, Crown Center) thru April 5, 2018. This show is recommended for ages 9 and up.

  • Tickets are $11.00 for youth under 18, students, and seniors age 60 and older; and $15.00 for adults. 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCE EXTRAS

During the run of Tuck Everlasting, The Coterie invites audiences to take advantage of these special, free performance extras (with paid admission):

  • Friday, March 2, 7:00 p.m.: Opening Night Celebration. A free post performance reception with the company, staff, and board of directors.
  • Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4, 2:00 p.m.: Question & Answer session. A free Q&A with members of The Coterie’s staff and artistic company will immediately follow the performance.
  • Saturday, March 10, 2:00 p.m.: Interpreted performance in American Sign Language

THE REMAINING 2017/2018 SEASON

Following Tuck Everlasting, The Coterie’s 2017/2018 Season continues with Jack and the Bean Magico!, a bi-lingual, interactive adaptation of the classic fairy tale, April 17 – May 20, 2018; and the summer musical for all ages, Goosebumps: The Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical, June 19 – August 5, 2018. Also, as a special engagement, The Coterie and the White Theatre at The J will co-produce Disney’s Newsies, performing at White Theatre, July 7-29, 2018.

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