Relationships make ‘The Ark’ endearing
by Mark Lowry
December 30, 2007
In the musical The Ark, when Noah sings “no one knows what lies ahead on this journey like no other,” he’s not necessarily talking about the tasks of taking care of animals and staying afloat on a wooden vessel.
Soon we learn what makes this musical, now onstage at Artisan Center Theater, so endearing: its exploration of relationships between spouses and between father and son.
The show’s creators (music by Michael McLean, book and lyrics by McLean and Kevin Kelly) have chosen a well-known subject that could have been more about faith and God’s plan, and wisely created a show about how human emotions are heightened in a state of cabin fever.
Some of the jokes are corney, but more of them are clever enough, especially in the song Dinner.
Also compelling are the characters of Noah (Joel Lagrone at the performance seen for this review) and his overworked wife, Eliza (Jill Hall); their sons, the headstrong Ham (Keith Warren), inventor Japeth (Chris Jordan) and mama’s boy Shem (Tyler Martin); and their respective wives, Egyptus (Shanice Antwine), Sariah (Lauren Luckett) and Martha (Teresa Andrion).
Directed by Dee Ann Blair on her own smart, environmental set design (with added beauty by Shelbie McElree’s animal paintings), the show flows along at a steady pace, never rushed or sluggish. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it is cute and entertaining. Audiences will chuckle at how the animals are represented.
Most of the singing is head-voice American Idol-audition kind of fare (it sometimes borders on painful when they’re belting). The exception is Warren, whose tenor is more legit. He is heavenly on the show’s best song, Whenever He Needs a Miracle. Acting-wise, everyone handles the job believably, making for smooth sailing.
…the show is selling out nearly every night. We constantly receive comments about the fantastic music, the entertaining dialog, and most of all, the uplifting message of hope that every patron carries away after the show. …people of all ages and all walks of life are moved and touched by this heartwarming story.
A Refreshing New Musical!… When the eight players (Noah, his wife, three sons, and their three wives) arriving singing a welcome to the animals (the audience), a very human family story unfolds. Rigid fathers, self-absorbed husbands, neglected wives, rebellious sons are all on hand. It works, because a gifted team has created a tightly-knit book, haunting lyrics, and diverting music inspired by such genres as rock, blues, honky-tonk, gospel. There are hilarious, as well as poignant, moments.