“I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky . . .” – John Denver.
Sold out performances for the world premiere weekend of “A Moment in Time” confirm Tony Award winner Stewart F. Lane’s vision. It’s a compassionate glimpse into a lonely Marine’s personal struggles in Afghanistan. Lane wrote and directed this inspiring project utilizing the music and lyrics of the late, beloved singer/songwriter, John Denver. The venue is the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center.
Determined to offer a modern soldier’s insights without cynicism, Lane has created a proud military family painting their story with Denver’s finest songs. These include “Take Me Home (Country Roads),” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Calypso.”
Black out. Strobes. Sounds of gunfire. Soldiers race down the aisle to the battlefield on stage. After wishing aloud for the serenity of his home in the Rockies, the Marine is badly wounded.
Black out. Lights. Birds chirp and the sun shines through a peaceful mountain campsite. The audience is ready for “A Moment in Time.”
Michael Sample provides an unaffected, unassuming and thoroughly enjoyable interpretation as Henry, the wounded G.I. His father, John Henry, is portrayed by Timothy Warmen. His duet with Sample, “Eagle and Hawk,” is a metaphor that defines the bond between father and son.
Marie Danvers portrays Henry’s nurturing but long lost mother. Kiley L. McDonald is his passionate but fragile sweetheart. Alexander Greenwald is gentle, young Henry. The sparkling “Sunshine on My Shoulders” is another poignant and unifying moment. Grand-Paw (Steve Chazaro) foreshadows his role as the family’s military and spiritual groundbreaker as he joins in “Rocky Mountain High.”
Mr. Lane mixes John Denver’s own biography within the presentation. The main character and Denver are both Air Force brats. Denver and the male leads share the same first and middle names. Annie is the love of both Denver and Henry’s life.
The world premiere is buoyed by a creative and competent support system. This includes Jared Hershkowitz (Assistant Director/Producer), Stanley Cohen (Producer), Bonnie Comley (Producer), Shea Sullivan (Choreograper), Christine Riley (Musical Director), and Luke Foco (Scenic Designer), along with dozens onstage and offstage.
For details on all productions call 631-424-2148 or surf to www.dhpac.org. Hopefully, Lane will further his project with stops on stages throughout Queens and the metropolitan area. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.