Nancy Sasso Janis
'Two by Two' is a comical take on the biblical story of Noah and his family as they struggle with the fact that they are the chosen ones to survive the flood. We laugh along with this dysfunctional family as they seek to fully interpret what God's command really means. What exactly does God expect of one 600 year old man with a miser, a loafer, and a philosopher for sons?
The director of the production of 'Two by Two' running at the Old Town Hall in Goshen is Matt Cornish. Mr. Cornish is the director of the theatre program at East Catholic HS in Manchester. He writes in the program about Noah being his favorite story in the Bible for as long as he can remember. He notes that Noah probably wasn't the greatest man ever, "just the best God had to work with at the time." His take away from the story is "If God can take an imperfect man with an imperfect family and do great and extraordinary things, then we, as imperfect men and women have the capacity and ability to accomplish great things too."
This piece is a seldom performed musical with a book by Peter Stone based on Clifford Odet's play 'The Flowering Peach,' lyrics by Martin Charnin and music by Richard Rodgers. Danny Kaye appeared in the original production and because he was unhappy with the script he began to improvise on a nightly basis, much to the dismay of the writers. I found this musical to be lighter than the second act of Stephen Schwartz's 'Children of Eden,' with music to match.
The cast made this a fun production. Mike Zizka was a convincing 600 year old Noah and (spoiler alert) relatively younger as well. Doreen Lopez, appearing in her second production in Goshen, brought great comic timing to the role of Noah's wife of 150 years, Esther.
Noah's sons are Shem (Payton Turpin,) Ham (Robert Kwalick) and Japheth (Benjamin "Kramer" Kwalick.) All three of these gentlemen did a great job as the miser, the loafer and the philosopher respectively and when they sang together, they blended beautifully. The younger Mr. Kwalick, a teen who is a member of the Litchfield HS Chamber Choir, possesses a crystal clear singing voice that made his solos a joy to behold. Kudos to musical director Dan Porri, by day the director of instrumental music at Litchfield HS, for bringing out the best in these cast members. Jean Conner on violin and Beckie Scattergood Wallace on keyboard kept everyone in key under the direction of Mr. Porri.
The wives in the family are Leah, played by Kerri Morris, and Rachel, played by her daughter Kelsey Morris. Mrs. Morris gave a powerhouse performance as the wife that nobody likes and Miss Morris, with her lilting soprano voice, was perfectly cast as the gentle young wife of the loafer. Stacie Margaret Martin returned to the Goshen stage to play the bombshell Goldie and wow, what a voice she has.
Judy Tringali designed the beautiful set with a childlike feel. Rainbow panels with raindrop shaped trees changed into the interior of the ark for the second act and lighting designed by Wes Baldwin made God speak to Noah and the rains come. Phoebe Katzin designed and constructed the biblical costumes and also did the extensive hair and makeup required for a 600 year old man. Sound designed by Chris Hoehne was impressive, with the sound of rain falling throughout the intermission.
Goshen Players 66th Spring Musical, 'Two by Two' continues April 17, 18, 24 &25 @ 8pm, and April 12 & 19 @ 4pm at Goshen's Old Town Hall. Photo Credit: Heather Boscarino Courtesy of Goshen Players