An adaptation of the beloved book Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt came to Broadway last month and will be gone from the stage far too soon. The show announced yesterday the final performance will be Sunday, May 29.
This is surprising and disappointing news to those who have seen the musical, six years in the making. On stage, Tuck Everlasting captures the essence of the book that has shaped readers’ views on family, friendship, life and death since its release in 1975. Told through the eyes of 11-year-old Winnie Foster, remarkably portrayed on stage by Sarah Charles Lewis, the audience accompanies her through a rare adventure with the Tuck family.
The score sets the tone for the show from the very first note. Whimsical, emotional, witty, poetic, the music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw blend together into a mesmerizing experience.
The set is striking—defined by a tree made up of curved fragments of wood that stretch elegantly across the width of the theatre. It’s a wonder Walt Spangler was not nominated for a Tony for Scenic Design. However, Gregg Barnes earned a well-deserved nod for Costume Design.
Michael Park plays Angus Tuck, patriarch of the Tuck family, who unexpectedly find that they’ve stopped aging after drinking water from a spring in the woods. Winnie’s sudden arrival into Angus’ life wakes him up from decades of a stagnant existence.
The Tucks perpetually ask themselves, “What’s going to get me out of bed this morning?” said Park. “This little Winnie Foster puts everybody on their feet immediately. She changes their lives.”
The Tuck children having, not grown up exactly, but moved away, Angus Tuck desires to be a father again and finds himself in the position of being a father figure to Winnie. The character is rugged and masculine, yet caring and thoughtful, and provides a voice of reason during a turbulent moment in his family’s lives.
Through the course of the play, Angus also rediscovers the romance in his relationship with his wife, Mae.
“Sarah is really diligent. What a responsibility it is to carry a show. She surprises me every night with a new line reading.”
—Michael Park, about 11-year-old
co-star Sarah Charles Lewis
The ending of the play is beyond words. “Natalie [Babbitt] actually said that we wrote the ending of this musical better than she ever could have imagined,” said Park. The audience shed many tears during this beautiful, touching scene.
Park, known for his role in Broadway’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe and television’s As The World Turns, considers playing Angus Tuck a dream role. He has a healthy philosophy about his profession. “75 percent of what I’m doing is great because of the material I’m given. My job to fill in the 25 percent. My buddy Chris Sullivan said that,” he explained.
“I always say that one of the perks of doing a Broadway show is interacting with fans. I love it,” Park said. He would like to show gratitude to all of his fans.
Send feedback to Michael Park on Twitter at @park24hrs.
“I would love feedback from the fans. What they thought of the show and their journey and relationship to the book,” he said. “I’m proud of the show and the fan base.”
Park was also in Sound of Music Live and Peter Pan Live on NBC. “Those shows were an absolute blast,” he said, adding that it was a special experience getting to work with actors he might not otherwise cross paths with.
Though Tuck Everlasting closes prematurely, the soundtrack will immortalize the show and bring joy to fans for all time. The cast album featuring Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Sarah Charles Lewis, Carolee Carmello, Terrence Mann, Michael Park, Robert Lenzi, Fred Applegate, Valerie Wright, Pippa Pearthree and Michael Wartella will be available digitally on June 10 and in stores on July 1.
Learn more about Tuck Everlasting at www.tuckeverlastingmusical.com.