Review: Ernest Shackleton Loves Me Off-Broadway2 min read

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me: “Don’t Stop Believing” in Your Inner Optimism

4_Wade McColum and Val Vigoda in Ernest Shackleton Loves Me

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me: “Don’t Stop Believing” in Your Inner Optimism

By Ross
It’s no surprise that one of the characters in this whimsical musical is in a Journey cover band on tour (there will be links to Journey songs throughout this review, forgive me). The whole idea of a ‘not-really-Journey’ Journey cover band is the perfect metaphor for Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, the new musical that just won the 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award for best new musical. The epic journey that Kat, played impressively by the crazy talented Val Vigoda, goes on flies in the face of reality.  The show asks us, quite insistently, to suspend our disbelief and just go with it. “Don’t Stop Believing” as she is told later on by her loser boyfriend.  In essence, we are being asked to believe, “Faithfully“, that a man who died a hundred years ago, the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, can call up Kat via Skype, and become the romantic interest of a modern day single mother living in Brooklyn. And lead her back to herself.
3_Val Vigoda and Wade McCollum in Ernest Shackleton Loved Me
When we do believe, with “Open Arms“, setting aside our need to comprehend, this musical, directed with quirky charm by Lisa Peterson (NYTW’s An Iliad), is just the kind of escape we need. Not an ounce of political presence here, just lots of impressive singing, snowy adventure, and some fantastic electric violin playing by Vigoda (who is just thrilling to behold). Jumping through the refrigerator vortex of time, we have Sir Ernest Shackleton, played with a robust and wildly exciting presence by Wade McCollum (Broadway’s Wicked), arriving just in the nick of time to help the floundering Kat in her epic journey towards self-reliance and internal validation. She’s a struggling artist, writer, and performer, with a crying baby in the other room of her cluttered Brooklyn apartment (a functional, sometimes beautiful production design by Alexander V. Nichols). It’s a lonely existence, like floating perilously through the frigid waters on unstable sea ice in hopes of finding land. (for the full review, click here)
5_Val Vigoda in Ernest Shackleton Loves Me
Posted on June 4, 2017
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