Violet is golden

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In 1997 Violet with musical score by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley opened off Broadway and won the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, and the Obie Award for (Special Citation – Music) for Jeanine Tesori.  By 2014 Violet was on Broadway and receiving a torrent of very positive reviews.  Today it is at Actor’s Co-op in Los Angeles and once again deeply pleasing the audience.

The story is set in 1964 and begins in North Carolina, which I found particularly intriguing to me as I was in North Carolina in 1964 and in the military. Violet is a young woman who has suffered severe physical injury and seeks to relieve herself of the scars with the help of a tele-evangelist in Oklahoma. She is traveling by bus and on that bus there are also two Army men. As the wheels on the bus go round and round an intricate and beautiful story unfolds with an abundance of very enjoyable music.

Atypical of a smaller venue, this show at the Crossley Theatre has a live band backing the vocals giving the show even greater depth. And the performances of all of the team but especially Claire Adams [Violet], Jahmaul Bakare [Flick] and Morgan West [Monty] are enrapturing.

For many people today there is little if any remembrance of enforced racial segregation but it absolutely did exist in North Carolina and throughout the south in 1964 and that reality is poignantly revealed in the course of this show.  It has an impact on Violet and in some ways shapes her future.

But what Violet really comes to grips with on this journey is a full self-acceptance and an ability to feel and express love.  It even involves an evolution in the relationship with her father which is presented throughout the show with flash back scenes along the journey. Once angry and hateful, Violet emerges forgiving, understanding and loving. She also develops a love relationship with a man, but I think what really shines through is the love and full acceptance of herself that develops on a bus ride and beyond. Oh, and that man she finds love with, he too will surprise you.

Violet is playing now through June 17th, 2018 at the Actor’s Co-op Crossley Theatre, 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, California 90028.  The easiest way to purchase tickets is online at HERE.

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