Nightingale goes for the glow by resurrecting, reinventing 'Glowstick'
By KAREN SHADE, 3/23/2007
What makes a glowstick glow?
Technically, it's the response of a bunch of chemicals reacting when violently shaken together in a tube, said musician Steve Beard.
Theatrically, it's the impetus for artistic fusion and the reason local band Milktruck has signed on to present its original collaboration with the Nightingale Theater once again.
Beard, the band's drummer, said the little wand of illumination is actually a metaphor of the musician's life pursuit.
"The fusion of chemicals makes it glow. That's just like music," said Beard, last seen keeping the beat on a drum set of pots and pans during the theater's last full-scale original staging, "Humans."
"Glowstick," which opens at the Nightingale on Friday night, centers on a little girl who sets out on a quest to find someone with the answer to the question of what makes a glowstick glow.
"It's an odyssey . . . a rock odyssey," said director John Cruncleton, involving "a journey, strange meetings with stranger people and a quest to find your will, your artistic voice and inspiration."
The Nightingale first staged "Glowstick" back in the spring of 2005. As the theater's house band, Milktruck was practiced in an improvisational jam-style with echoes of both jazz and rock. The sound was eclectic, fitting with Nightingale's offbeat dramatic style.
The band brought a handful of songs and a storyline to Cruncleton, who penned some dialogue around it. By the end of 2005, Milktruck split up, its members pursuing other work. But "Glowstick" has brought them together with the theater once again.
Both Cruncleton and the band wanted to revisit the story and improve it, making those theatrical elements more unified and focused. The most critical change has been the main character. In 2005, the "kid" was a boy played by an actual boy. This time around, the lead is rising chanteuse Annie Ellicott.
Best known for her jazz vocal stylings, Ellicott appeared in Nightingale's "Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical" and "References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot" in summer 2005.
She said she was lured to "Glowstick" by its goofiness.
"It's been different from other theater experiences I've had," she said.
Cruncleton said the new "Glowstick" isn't a "rehash . . . It's a totally new show."
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, March 30-31, April 6-7
Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.
$8, call 633-8666. For more, go online to www.nightingaletheater.com.
Show is for a mature audience.