“Where There’s Water There’s Opportunity”
There are only a few books that have left a big impression on my life. The Red Tent is one, Our Town is another, but by far – the book that is and has been my favorite story of all time is Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. So much so that since AOL’s incarnation in the 90s my email address has been two of the book’s pivotal characters and I refuse to let it go twenty five years. I guess in a sense – to me, my email address will live forever…
When I saw that Tuck Everlasting was coming to Broadway I had to see it as soon as humanly possible. I’ve seen many Broadway shows in my day and few have given me chills like a true, true Broadway musical (think the first time you saw Les Misérables). But those chills were there for Tuck Everlasting and I’m pretty sure I was smiling the whole time with the awe of my twelve year old self sitting with me.
As with all beloved books what’s in your imagination is often different from what’s on the screen or stage. I had not read the book in quite some time and debated looking through it before the show but then purposefully stopped myself so I could see the show through fresh eyes. While I definitely think there were a few creative freedoms taken I will say it was pretty spot on which made me happy. I’m pretty comfortable saying the show – which had one of the most beautiful sets I’ve seen – had my imagination’s full approval. From the tree that converted into a stair case to the incredibly elaborate carnival scene – it was just simply impressive.
Then there was the dancing – which was unexpected and beautiful and felt like a character in itself. It was ethereal. Towards the end, the dancing was used as the storyteller like in a ballet. I loved how they summed up the plot this way. As a fan of the story I was really impressed at how they portrayed time’s evolution.
I’m not quite sure why this story has resonated with me for close to three decades. Maybe it is because I was a similar age to Winnie – the central character – at the time I first read it, maybe it was the frog – since I always liked frogs, or maybe it was just an easy going yet very deep story a child could cling to without realizing the multiple deep layers present. I have read the book many times over the years and find myself drawn to different parts each time. It is truly a classic and one that if you have never read should be picked up.
It makes me happy that this book, published in 1975, and ranked number 16 among the “Top 100 Chapter Books” of all time in 2012, still resonates with young readers. I wonder what it’s like to be in sixth grade in 2016 vs. 1989. I wonder if teachers now draw parallels to the book’s eternal theme and how something like cyber-bullying lasts forever… who knows. For now, I just want to enjoy the experience of seeing my favorite book made into a play and think about what it will mean to me to discuss it with my six year old daughter one day.
Tuck Everlasting, a family friendly musical, opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on April 26th, 2016 and runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes including one intermission. The play is brought to life with world-class artistry and powerful storytelling in a sweeping production featuring a book by Tony Award® nominee Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde) & Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Ever), music by Chris Miller (The Burnt Part Boys), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (The Burnt Part Boys), and direction and choreography by Tony Award® winner Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon). Check out the New York Times’ review or visit here for tickets, and a video preview.
I think one of the reasons I keep coming back to this story is because it’s an interesting concept – living forever. Is it something you would want? It never seems to be a good thing to the character in the story, right? But none of them ever chose it, it just happened by chance. It makes you think – if you could freeze a time in your life and live in it forever – would you do it? And if so, at what age?
What is the perfect age for you to be forever? Deep stuff. Comment below – tell me!