On October 26, 2011, I saw the Transport Group's production of five-time Tony Award Nominee Michael John LaChiusa's "Queen of the Mist" starring two-time Tony Award Nominee Mary Testa and rising performer Andrew Samonsky along with Julia Murney, and Theresa McCarthy, Tally Sessions, Stanley Bahorek, and DC Anderson.
Based upon the true story of Anna Edison Taylor, who in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Michael John LaChiusa wrote a very timely show about fame: the desire for it, the price of it, and the legacy of it.
"Queen of the Mist" really showcases the talents of the whole cast as everyone has embodied their character, but this is a truly great vehicle for Mary Testa ("Anna Edison Taylor") and Andrew Samonsky ("Mr. Frank Russell, Anna's Manager"). Their voices are splendid and they really get some great songs to show it off! Mary's vocals soar on "There Is Greatness In Me," "The Barrel/Cradle or Coffin," "Types Like You," (along with Andrew) "The Quintessential Hero," and "The Green." Andrew's voice radiates on "On The Other Side," "Million Dolla' Momma," and "Expectations." Julia Murney has such a terrific voice that I do wish she was given more than one solo song ("Break Down The Door"), but at least she got to really shine with what she was given. "Break Down The Door" also demonstrated Julia's wonderful comedic acting. Theresa McCarthy also had some wonderful moments in the show as "Jane," "Anna's" sister. Tally Sessions, Stanley Bahorek, and DC Anderson were all enjoyable and were given their moment in the spotlight as well.
In this day and age where so many people are on the fast track towards fame and notoriety, "Queen of the Mist" does a nice job in showing the many aspects of how this path can seem glamorously desirable, but in reality, it can also be a costly affair! "Queen of the Mist" plays at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street, @ Washington Square South) through November 20. Click here for tickets!