Elmwood Playhouse’s “The Bridges of Madison County” captivates the crowd

Daniele Hager (left) and Jon Huston (right) on the set of “The Bridges of Madison County.” Set design by Jennilee Aromando
Photo provided

BY GEORGINA CASAZZA

NYACK – Elmwood Playhouse presents the musical “The Bridges of Madison County” as their 70th season commences. Directed by Claudia Stefany with musical direction by Tony Bellomy, “The Bridges of Madison County” tells the story of two soul mates who unfortunately met too late in life.

We’re introduced to Francesca Johnson, played by Daniele Hager, a gentle, mild-mannered Italian woman who finds herself married to a farmer in the middle of rural Iowa with two teenage children. Francesca has acclimated herself quite well to being the quintessential farmer’s wife, despite having imagined more for her life.

When her husband, “Bud” Johnson, played by Edward Van Saders, and her children Carolyn, played by Caroline Goldenberg, and Michael, played by Jackson Poulin, head out of town for a few days, Francesca finds herself alone for the first time in awhile.

Not long after her family has left, a young, mysterious photographer arrives at her door. Robert Kincaid, played by Jon Huston, is looking for the bridges of Madison County to shoot for the National Geographic, and happens upon lonely Francesca for direction. By the fate of a good telltale story, the two fall fast in love, leaving Francesca questioning her entire life up to this point.

“The Bridges of Madison County” debuts the first musical of Elmwood’s 70th season, which entranced audience members with song through the two acts. The contrast of Francesca’s Italian opera sound, and the rest of the cast’s almost folk style really emphasized the feelings Francesca had about being so different than all those around her.

While there was not a bad voice among the entire cast, audience members became entranced anytime there was a scene with the noisy nextdoor neighbors, Charlie, played by Larry Wilbur, and Marge, played by Kerry Davis. Charlie and Marge brought the much-needed comedic relief the show craved. Additionally, Charlie (Wilbur) and Bud’s (Van Saders) final song, “When I’m Gone” easily left every single person with goose bumps as they wowed the audience with their show stopping performance.
Elmwood Playhouse’s “The Bridges of Madison County” is definitely not a show to miss.

The production runs through December 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. with an additional Thursdayperformance on December 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29/27 for seniors and students. The show will play at the small Nyack theatre through December 9, with shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Elmwood Playhouse is located on 10 Park St., Nyack. For more information visit: www.elmwoodplayhouse.com.

Additional Cast/Crew: Marian/Chiara played by Emma Ruck; Ginny/Ensemble played by Helene Gardner; Hotel Bartender/Ensemble played by Andrew Greenway; Waitress/Shop Girl/Ensemble played by Maura Kavanagh; State Fair Singer/Ensemble played by Wendy Portney; Young Bud/Ensemble played by Sam Ruck; Young Francesca/Ensemble played by Hailey Schwartz; Jeff/Paolo/Ensemble played by Andrew Shepard. Keyboards, Tony Bellomy and Ben McCormack; Violin, Andrew Pak and Sue Yang; Cello, David Moore and Erika Tesi; Percussion, Johnny Vota; Guitar, Brian Murphy; Scenic Design, Jennilee Aromando; Lighting Design, Rebekah Gould; Costume Design, Janet Fenton; Technical Director, Crawford Deyo; Production Stage Manager, Marissa Abreu; Producer, Wendy Portney.