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BIG RIVER

Music and Lyrics by ROGER MILLER
Book by WILLIAM HAUPTMAN
Adapted from the novel by MARK TWAIN
First opened on Broadway April 25, 1985 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

 

Plot Synopsis

Big River is a rollicking musical adaptation of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The King of the Road, Grammy and Tony Award winner Roger Miller, composed an incredibly beautiful score to give us one of the best marriages of story and song to come to the Broadway stage in some time. The songs range from the sentimental ballad "Worlds Apart" to the Gospel-style song "Free at Last". 

Set in the 1840s, Big River takes the audience on a journey down the Mississippi River with Huck and Jim, the runaway slave. Their trip is full of adventure as they face the challenges of the river and encounter the many interesting characters created by Twain. Their raft is commandeered by two con artists known as The King and The Duke. Jim is sold back into slavery, only to be rescued by Huck and his pal Tom Sawyer.

As the journey continues, Huck feels better about protecting Jim and helping him get to the "free states" to be reunited with his wife and children. Despite the prejudice of the age, he realizes that it's all right to stand up for your own beliefs and to respect and care for someone of a different colour.

Cast of Characters

Huckleberry Finn Daniel H. Jenkins
Jim Ron Richardson
Pap Finn John Goodman
The Duke Rene Auberjonois
Mary Jane Wilkes Patti Cohenour

Songs from the Show - Act One

Do Ya Wanna Go To Heaven? The Company
The Boys Tom and the Boys
Waitin' for the Light to Shine Huck
Guv'ment Pap
Hand for the Hog Tom
I, Huckleberry, Me Huck
Muddy Water Jim and Huck
The Crossing Slaves and Overseers
River in the Rain Huck and Jim
When the Sun Goes Down in the South Duke, King and Huck 

Songs from the Show - Act Two

The Royal Nonesuch Duke and the Company
Worlds Apart Jim and Huck
Arkansas A Young Fool
How Blest We Are Alice's Daughter and the Company
You Oughta Be Here With Me Mary Jane, Susan and Joanna
How Blest We Are (Reprise) The Company
Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go Huck, Mary Jane and Jim
Waitin' for the Light to Shine (Reprise) Huck and Slaves
Free At Last Jim, Slaves and the Company
River in the Rain (Reprise) Huck and Jim
Muddy Water (Reprise) The Company

1992-1993 Production

Presented May 14-22, 1993 at the High School of Commerce, Ottawa, Ontario

Orpheus's Ottawa Premiere of Big River was dedicated to the memory of composer and lyricist Roger Miller and Orpheus member and friend Barry Bielby.

Ottawa Citizen Review

CBC Radio "In Town and Out" Review 

Production Team

Artistic Director Michael Gareau
Musical Director Marlene Hudson
Choreographer Aileen Szkwarek
Production Coordinator Drummond Hudson
Production Assistant Patti Mordasewicz
Stage Manager Don Lambton
Assistant Stage Manager Carol Chamberlain
Set Designer/Scenic Artist Nancy Solman
Costume Designer Bev Whitehead
Properties Mistress Cathy McKechnie
Sound Technicians Frank Burke/Bill Butterworth
Lighting Designer David Magladry
Make-up Design Barbara Seeton
Master Carpenter/Workshop Chairman John Solman
Accompanists Lorna Rice/Pat McKenna

Cast

Mark Twain/Doctor Gary King
Huckleberry Finn Frank Duern
Jim Robert McColman
Widow Douglas Sharon O'Neil
Miss Watson Anne Montgomery
Tom Sawyer Peter Kealey
Pap Finn/Sheriff Bell Al Bullock
Judge Thatcher/Counsellor Robinson Brian Burke
Strange Woman Laura Charles
The King Jim Robertson
The Duke Barry Caiger
A Young Fool Alex Latoche
Mary Jane Wilkes Christine Moran
Alice, the Wilkes' Slave Joanne John
Harvey Wilkes/Silas Phelps Mark Munday
Sally Phelps Kate Kerr
Funeral Soloist Sharon O'Neil

CHORUS

Al Bullock, Brian Burke, Barry Caiger, Laura Caswell, Laura Charles, Frank Duern, Jennie Esnard, Cindy Harrison, Andrew Hunter, Joanne John, Peter Kealey, Kate Kerr, Gary King, Alex Latoche, Robert McColman, Debbie Millett, Anne Montgomery, Christine Moran, Mark Munday, John Burgess-Murray, Sharon O'Neil, Kraig Proulx, Jim Robertson, Guylaine Roy, Jason Spence, Keith Woleston

Orchestra

Under the direction of Marlene Hudson

Violin/Fiddle Sol Gunner
Harmonica Mario Gilbert
Guitars/Mandolin Craig Kennedy
Guitar/Banjo Neil Bateman
Keyboard David Hildinger
Reeds Michael Scorah
Trumpet Sid Holmes
Trombone Drummond Hudson
Bass Jamie Gatti
Percussion Art Beers 

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