Review: ‘Celebration’ at New Line Theatre

Erin Karll

  • St. Louis Critic

The Marcelle Theatre’s black box is transformed into the Garden of Eden for the opening of 26th season of New Line Theatre. ‘Celebration’ is a wonderful mix of plays like 'Everyman' and 'Waiting for Godot' and classic show tune songs. Written by Tom Jones (words) and Harvey Schmidt (music) it is a harsh look at life's many stages and seasons. It is ask often during the show if this is a comedy, and if there will be a happy ending or just an ending. Like life we don't know the end until it happens.

A simple summary would be an orphan (Orphan) meets a man (Potemkin) who agrees to help him on his mission. They spot a woman (Angel) who is an entertainer. Another man (William Rosebud Rich) enters the story and the group decided to have a party to celebrate the New Year. Conflict arises between Orphan and William Rosebud Rich that mirror natures struggle between the older generation set in their ways and the newer generation wanting to strike out on their own. ‘Celebration’ is a story of the naivety of the young vs. the complacency of the old.

Standouts of the cast were Sean Michael (Orphan) and Kent Coffel (Potemkin) who spend most of the time on stage. Coffel is entertaining as the narrator and guide for Michal’s ‘Orphan’.  Michael is charming has the young orphan full of dreams. I could not stop smiling during his scene ‘My Garden’, as Michael shows the audience all the possibilities of youth.

The cast of revelers keep the party going while creating moments of beautiful harmony. Zachary Allen Farmer (William Rosebud Rich) and Larrisa White (Angel) are mesmerizing and funny in two of my favorite scenes ‘Board’ and ‘Somebody’.  I seriously enjoyed the hair piece worn by Famer that seems to have been taken off the top of a current Presidential nominee’s head. The wig and rest of the costumes (Sarah Porter) lead the audience on this near mythological journey. Masks are worn by the chorus members while their outfits look more modern. The robe that White wears looks so luxurious, and gave the shocking reveal of the evening. I also enjoyed the use of glitter as a way to show the movement of time and story.

Edgy and provocative, ‘Celebration’ tells the story that is the journey of life and the struggle youth. Tough topics are discussed and there are some graphic scenes. This is not “theatre light” where the audience can go home without being changed. Expect to be enchanted following this story of an orphan looking for his place, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I would recommend this show to those theatre fanatics who can enjoy a strong story and a good laugh.

Check out the opening night tweets by following #NewLineLive. ‘Celebration’ runs until October 22nd at The Marcelle Theatre. For ticket and show information visit 

Photo: Angel (Larissa White) and Orphan (Sean Michael) feel their love growing. Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg