When I was just getting interested in theater I came across a musical that has held my heart ever since. I used to love sitting up late watching PBS when they were doing telethons. It always seemed like they played the best stuff during that time. I remember one night flipping through the channels and a concert was playing during the telethon. I’d never heard the songs before so I decided to stay and watch. This may have been the best choice I’ve ever made. This is how I was introduced to Evangeline the Musical.
To those outside of Louisiana the story of Evangeline may not be so well known. The story originates from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem of the same name. It tells the story of Evangeline and Gabriel, two young Acadians who grow up together and fall in love. When the British come to take over the lovers are separated but vow to find each other. I won’t say too much more because that will spoil it for you, but the story is both beautiful and heartbreaking and makes me proud to be from Louisiana.
The musical was written my Paul Taranto and Jamie Wax. I’ve seen the PBS concert but I’ve also seen the concert live at LSU as well as seeing it on stage several times including in 2004 at Theatre Baton Rouge. To my extreme delight when the season for next year for TBR was announced Evangeline was set as the season opener. I was almost jumping out of my chair with excitement. This may not be a big Broadway show with a name that anyone would be familiar with, but it has a following.
I met one of my very best friends because of this musical. While on a trip where I knew very few people I mentioned a song from the show. A girl sitting across from me said “you know Evangeline?” And thus a friendship was born. We were in each other’s weddings. She even named her daughter Evangeline. That’s the kind of emotional reaction people can have to this show and story.
I plan to audition for it at TBR because I’m pretty sure I would regret it for the rest of my life if I missed the opportunity to be a part of this show. I urge you to consider looking into this show. Even if you are not a theatre person you will still enjoy it. If you love your Louisiana heritage you are going to love this. The music is witty and touches your heart. The characters are funny and familiar. Its everything you could want from a great production. Just to prove it watch the video below. Its my absolute favorite song from the show Worth the Wait. If it doesn’t make you get goosebumps and want to Buy tickets right now I don’t know what will.