Whispers on the Wind
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Charles Jarrett

Though Whispers on the Wind, now playing at Playhouse West, starts off like a fluffy musical full of stereotyped characters, it has a way of growing on you like melancholy. I donít mean that in a negative way. Most good art is full of melancholy. Where would Beethoven or Shakespeare have been without it?

The melancholy that emerges from the songs in Whispers on the Wind has a particularly American brand born of isolation. The musical basically follows one family through time zeroing in on the son as he grows up and feels the urge to leave home, leave college and make it on his own in the big city. The lead song, Whispers on the Wind, evokes that all American urge to move on, and since this was written in the 1960s, we get the feel that all the characters are just blowing in the wind. But the irony is that the very thing the son, played by Robb Hedges, is trying to blow free of is part of the foundation of his character, and he soon finds himself getting a steady job, falling in love, getting married and having kids of his own.

However, itís the songs that are sung along the way that make this a worthwhile journey and touch our emotions with our own struggles of growing up. Some of the best numbers bring back memories of the loneliness and isolation that moving to a strange city can evoke. Some are comic like Carmen Viscenzo, which is about a city cab driver, but others are more poignant like Prove Iím Really Here.

Director and choreographer, Lois Grandi, has once again assembled an excellent cast. Pianist and musical director, Dave Dobrusky, is a well-known Bay Area talent who has performed regularly with 42nd Street Moon and at Theatre Works.

For tickets or more information call (925) 942-0300.

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