Big River

Considering that Huckleberry Finn is a serious contender for the title of Great American Novel (it’s a lot funnier than Moby Dick), it’s surprising that it took so long for a musical-theater adaptation. When it finally came (in 1985), the producers of Big River made an inspired choice for their composer—Roger Miller. Miller’s goofy country-folk hits like “King of the Road,” “England Swings,” and “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd,” accompanied by his twangy voice and gee-tar, often obscured his considerable skill as a serious songwriter. Indeed, Miller seemed almost as surprised as his critics when Big River garnered six Tony awards (including book, score, and musical), quite a feat for a guy who habitually wrote his lyrics on cigarette paper. Taproot’s Karen Lund directs this revival, with Taproot regulars Jeff Berryman, Jenny Cross, and Edd Key aboard. If it’s anywhere near as successful as the usual summertime musical diversions at Taproot, Greenwood’s going to have an oddly Southern air for the next few weeks. [See Kevin Phinney's review here.] 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat. Extended through August 23. JOHN LONGENBAUGH

Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: July 9. Continues through Aug. 23, 2008

 
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