From time to time, we all feel we need the help and guidance of a guardian angel, a fairy god mother, a savior, a motivational mentor, a guiding light or even a fantastic friend. In the depths of despair as we attempt to tackle a problem of crisis proportion, we seek a compassionate soul to travel that dark road with us and stand by our side until we see the light. When May 2020 came crashing into our lives, uninvited, and COVID 19 became a frightening reality, we all started washing our hands, spraying our intimate world with Lysol, wearing a mask, distancing ourselves from others and praying this was a minor bump in our busy lives. Such, unfortunately, was not to be our reality and still is a questionable factor as we plan each day.
A trio of industrious souls took this abrupt detour in their lives to create a musical: Bruce Vilanch, Gabriel Barre and Tricia Paoluccio. The Terris Theatre in Chester, closed for the years of the pandemic, has now gloriously reopened to share “Here You Come Again” until Sunday, August 27.
Come make the acquaintance of Matthew Risch’s Kevin who is struggling to deal with the loss of his lover Jordan, the dissolving of his comedy career and the insulting fact that he now lives in his parents’ attic. Because of the possibility of infecting his folks, Kevin must climb a ladder and enter through a window to access his loft that is stuffed with such diverse items as a disco ball, a pair of pumpkins, a fishing pole, a guitar, ice chest, laptop, milk carton table, strings of Christmas lights and one lonely license plate. No wonder he is depressed.
The only bright star in his firmament is his enduring and sustaining love of the country rock icon Dolly Parton. When Tricia Paoluccio’s Dolly magically appears in his attic retreat, a glimmer of hope lights up Kevin’s world. Dolly of the ultimate optimism tries to coax Kevin out of his funk with songs and stories of courage and confidence, encouraging him to like himself and see positive sign posts for the future. With tunes like “Love is Like a Butterfly,” “9-5,” “God’s Coloring Book,” “Jolene,” “Islands in the Stream,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” Dolly and Kevin sing their way through a journey of sadness to joy. The pair are splendid together as Dolly pulls Kevin by his imaginary boot straps and suspenders to become the man he wants and needs to be.Gabriel Barre directs and choreographs this charming comedy, on a marvelous set by Anna Louizos, with sequined costumes by Bobby Pearce.
For tickets ($49), call The Terris Theatre, 33 North Main Street, Chester at 860- 873-8668 or online at goodspeed.org/tickets-onsale. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. In honor of Goodspeed’s 60th anniversary, you are invited to donate $60 or any amount to the future success of their productions. The Terris Theatre is called the Little Goodspeed or Goodspeed at Chester.
The pandemic is still very much in our world. Come see how one man manages to survive all the challenges that many of us are still facing. We wish we could all have the wonderful Dolly Parton sashay through our closet door ready and eager to save us.