"Lilies of the Field
Directed by Marsha Grant
Through May 20
Directed by Bill Hale
Through May 20
Two shows opened next door to each other last weekend: Lilies of the Field at Epilogue Players and Baby at Footlite Musicals.
Lilies of the Field is a sweet story about Homer, a man traveling the country after his stint in the Army who stumbles across a small group of German nuns trying to eke out an existence in a harsh corner of the Southwest. Homer offers to be a hired man for the day and ends up getting roped into a long-term stint that includes building the nuns a chapel.
While many of the performances are hesitant, the short show is still charming. Ron Rose is an amiable Homer, and Margy Lancet-Fletcher as Mother Maria Marthe is a consistently stern mother superior, treating Homer as she would one of the nuns, and is occasionally amusing in spite of, or because of, her clipped demeanor. Duane Leatherman as Father Gomez, a narrator character, is utterly approachable. George Dokes as Orville, a local rich man, gives a smooth performance throughout. Director Marsha Grant’s pacing is somewhat slow, but this isn’t exactly a high-action play.
Over at Footlite, chastity isn’t on the minds of the characters in the musical Baby. The story follows three couples: Danny and Lizzie (John O’Brien and Libby Byrun), 20-year-old college students who get pregnant by accident; Alan and Arlene (Dean Reynolds and Susan Smith), 40-somethings who just finished putting their third daughter through college and discover they are pregnant again; and Nick and Pam (R. Brian Noffke and Brenna Campbell), 30-somethings who are fighting with infertility.
The musical itself is kind of mundane, and insufficient amplification often makes it hard to hear what is happening on stage, even with the orchestra tucked away back stage instead of in the pit. But Byrun has the sweetest voice, and Noffke nails a lovely rendition of “At Night She Comes Home to Me.” The guys’ number, “Fatherhood Blues,” is vocally weak but visually funny. O’Brien, after other ho-hum numbers, finally gets it right in “I Know I Chose Right,” and Reynolds and Smith also get their due in “And What If We Had Loved Like That.”
Director Bill Hale doesn’t use much in the way of characterization and movement to help get situations and personalities across; instead, it’s a very cut-and-dried production.
Lilies of the Field continues at Epilogue through May 20 at $8, a steal of a ticket price. Call 317-872-4262 for reservations. Baby continues at Footlite through May 20 (no show May 13). Tickets are $17; call 317-926-6630 for reservations. Both theaters are located at the corner of 19th and Alabama.