Orlando Fringe Review: Seasons The Musical
Seasons The Musical, which was co-written by Orlando Fringe alumna Katie Hammond and local musician Elaine Pechacek, has previously been performed in New York and England, but is only now receiving its Central Florida debut. Helen (Tiana Akers) is about to accept a medical school scholarship when she discovers she is pregnant, and is soon dashing through the snow to a shotgun wedding with safe, solid Peter (Erin Robere). Hope (Kathryn Fabbroni) is giddy about marrying the man of her dreams, but her mother (Beki Herrbach) is trying to battle breast cancer long enough to walk her daughter down the aisle. Their parallel stories, told through an interlocking sung-through song cycle, produce one of the most moving unpublished musicals I’ve ever seen at the Orlando Fringe.
Pechacek and Hammond’s stirring melodies have a certain stylistic sameness, similar to a string of Disney Princess “I want” anthems, and their lyrical rhyme schemes don’t strive for Sondheimesque sophistication. But they are blessed with a simple, direct honesty that is emotionally enthralling. Likewise, the plot’s domestic drama isn’t especially deep, but the dynamite cast (under director Scott Browning) gives the universal themes of hope, fear and dreams deferred a dynamic delivery that sucked me in.
All four performers have professionally seasoned pipes, and when their voices blended in close harmony I got chills. Browning makes smart use of the stage, spreading actors around the space for surround-sound effects and providing plenty of props to keep the solos from becoming static. The satisfying way in which the two storylines entwine in the finale might be a bit too subtle for some audience members to catch, but likely you’ll be too busy reaching for tissues (thoughtfully provided to the preview crowd) and wiping your eyes to notice.