Writer-director Buck Busfield has retooled his world premiere musical “Spinning Into Light,” now playing on the B Street Theatre main stage, resulting in stronger more focused production.
New plays in general – and musicals more specifically – often need creative adjustments once they are up on their feet. It takes a certain artistic honesty to see problems and want to fix them, and Busfield and his flexible cast of four have put some profitable work in since the play’s premiere weeks ago.
The former two-act piece is now just one act – 90 minutes straight through – and the continuity helps the flow of the stories being told. The songs, with lyrics by Busfield and music by Noah Agruss, in this romantic round-robin come across more effectively in part because the singing has become stronger and more confident with clearer articulation, which allows the words to be better understood.
The play is set mill town in the American South in the early 1950s, and its theme of looking for fulfillment still defines the characters. Greg Alexander’s comically monotone Vassar, Melinda Parrett’s appealing Sally and Tara Sissom’s lively Mindy Sue make their livings through repetitive factory work that hardly exists in this country anymore. Jason Kuykendall’s smooth Kenny, Sally’s troubled ex-husband, is a traveling salesman, another anachronistic occupation.
A finale song has been cut and a couple of the stronger character-songs featuring Alexander and Parrett are reprised later, helping underscore the developing relationship between Vassar and Sally, now more clearly placed as the play’s central dynamic. While other story elements might still be adjusted, the revised production is a more engaging piece than it was.
“Spinning Into Light” continues 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 5 and 9 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays; through Jan. 4. No shows Dec. 25. At B Street Theatre Mainstage, 2711 B St., Sacramento. Tickets: $23-$35, $5 student rush. Information at (916) 443-5300, or www.bstreettheatre.org
Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.