This past weekend we had a chance to catch Red Roses Green Gold an off-broadway show that is “inspired by the music and lyrics of Garcia/Robert Hunter and additional material by band members Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Billy Kreutzman and Bob Weir”. That’s enough of the official introductory information – let’s get into a little review!
The music sells the show and the acting and story is a bit of a distraction. That’s a pretty short review – so let’s keep going!
Set in the 1920’s (think Brown Eyed Women/Jack Straw time) in the town of Cumberland the story tells the tale of con-men, card games, love lost/won, and sibling rivalry all intertwined with the music of the Garcia/Hunter songs. As far as the plot, don’t bother trying to figure it out, as its confusing at best and ties together with a card game that results in **SPOILER ALERT** a happy ending. The music is the star and the multi-instrument musician/actors do good service to the music.
Music wise we get current day Americana feel for many of the tunes from the Workingman’s/American Beauty period and a few others mixed in for good measure. We’re not quite sold on the interpretations of the music (Bertha as a duet), however, for us, the highlight was the solemn and soulful singing of Brokedown Palace, alone worth the reasonable price of admission!
If you’ve ever found yourself trying to explain the music and meaningful lyrics to a friend/significant other than this show will do it for you quite well. The set pieces give a nice and somewhat authentic feel that fits the music (again the star) and the Musician/Actor playing Jackson Jones (Scott Wakefield) was our favorite.
DeadHeads unite and go spend a day getting cultured at the theater (Minetta Lane Theater down in Greenwich Village NYC) wink-wink!