Lucky Penny Productions opens its 2016-2017 season on Sept. 9 with the Tony Award-winning musical “Big River,” based on Mark’s Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.
Lucky Penny traditionally kicks off each season with a musical based on a great work of literature, “Huckleberry Finn” is one of the greatest American classics.
“The original themes (in “Huckleberry Finn”) ofr acial inequity and respecting the dignity of each human life remains just as relevant today as it was in the 1880s,” said artistic director Taylor Bartolucci. “It’s a powerful story with music that will lift you up.”
“Big River” sweeps the audience down the Mississippi as the unruly Huck Finn (Adam Blankenship) helps his friend Jim (Phillip Percy Williams) escape slavery and find freedom as well as adventures are full of humor, suspense and heart.
Williams was a winner of a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for playing this role a few years ago.
“Big River” brings to life favorite characters from the novel including Huck’s partner in crime, Tom Sawyer. Lori Bailey plays the Widow Douglas and Jessica Romero her stern sister, Miss Watson. Barry Martin and Michael Scott Wells portray the hilarious King and Duke while Richard Kerrigan plays Huck’s drunken father, the sinister Pap Finn. Danielle DeBow takes on the role of the lovely Mary Jane Wilkes and her trusting family.
A total of 23 actors from four counties make up the cast, under the guidance of co-directors Barry Martin and Taylor Bartolucci, muscial director Craig Burdette, and choreographer Staci Arriaga.
Big River’s music and lyrics are by country singer-songwriter Roger Miller, best known for hits like “King of the Road” “Dang Me” and “England Swings.” The 1985 Broadway production ran for more than 1,000 performances earning seven Tony Awards including “Best Musical” and “Best Score” for Miller. William Haupton wrote the book of the musical.
“Big River” will be performed at the Lucky Penny Community Arts Center at 1758 Industrial Way, Suite 208, in Napa.