BY SARAH SCHULTZ
I would like to give Bucket Brigade Theater and the cast of Life Goes On one note: stock the seats with tissue boxes. My sister and I didn’t even make it to the second song before tears were streaming, but don’t let that deter you! This new musical did evoke deep sorrow, but it also conjured laughter, joy, and comfort. I left the cozy stone walls and stained glass of Art House North feeling alive and grateful for all the people who fill my life with love.
There are plenty of shows filled with tragedy and trauma, but what makes Life Goes On so gut wrenching is its relatability. Jeremiah Gamble has written a book capturing a nearly universal experience; losing a parent. The idea isn’t new, but Bucket Brigade presents it in such a fresh way. The audience walks with the family as they navigate grieving, celebrating, and moving on.
Vanessa and Jeremiah Gamble’s music supported the story beautifully. The vocals are all psychologically motivated. The characters never just sing- they lament, they connect, they yearn- and it comes out as song. Piano and guitar accompany the singers. The orchestration is minimal and incredibly effective. During one number, the actors exhale rhythmically to provide a beat for the soloist.
This cast is small but powerful, with a refreshing ratio of 5 women to one man. Not only are women onstage, they vary in age and appearance and their characters are fascinatingly complex. It is wonderful to watch these immensely talented women tell this incredible story. It was a reminder that even if we don’t fit into the ingenue mold, even when we grow older, we are important.
I cannot recommend Life Goes On enough. See it at Art House North before it closes on October 13. Go to http://www.bucketbrigadetheater.com/ or call 1-800-838-3006 for tickets and information.