OGDEN — Tuck Everlasting, the musical based on the novel by Natalie Babbitt, with music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and a book by Claudia Shear and TIm Federle, had a very short life of only 39 performances on Broadway in 2016. Somehow I was lucky enough to see one of those 39 performances, and when I was in the audience, I remember thinking this is not going to last long here, but it is going to have a life in high schools and community theatres across the country. One of the most important things about theatre is knowing your audience, and this show is a clear evidence of that. Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s production, directed by Kate Rufener, has much to find joy in. 

Show closes April 8, 2023.

The first and perhaps most impressive part of this production was the set design by Rufener and Nathan Fawcett. As the most important part of the story is arguably the spring, and the question of deciding if one will drink from the spring, it is very fitting that the tree and the spring take center stage, with flowers and foliage growing from the branches and filling the space of the theatre. I found the aesthetics of this choice to be very pleasing. 

Something that was truly fun and one of my favorite things of local, community theatre, was to see brothers Jace and Max Fawcett play Jesse and Miles Tuck. I smiled when they were arguing on stage, thinking that perhaps this was not very difficult acting for them. This is not to say that their acting skills were not evident. Jace as Jesse showed amazing vocals from his first notes, and really did shine in the song “Top of the World.” Max was able to bring a lot of depth to the song “Time,” which has a lot of difficult topics within it. Hailey Jasper and Sheldon Cheshire as Mae and Angus Tuck rounded out the family well, and really brought excellent character to this family that has come to learn of the challenges of being granted eternal life, something that seems like a blessing but is more of a burden. Both Jasper and Cheshire have an excellent combination of humor and wisdom, and made it quite believable that they had been around for over 100 years, navigating this difficult world. 

Jenna Francis as Winnie Foster has the difficult task of carrying the burden of theme in this story, deciding between living eternally or dealing with the pain of life and loss. She delivers the theme quite well in the show’s traditional 11 o’clock number, “Everlasting,” which she does with an excellent coherence of wonder and joy. Josh Curtis as the man in the yellow suit was deliciously evil, and I enjoyed the level of villainy he brought to the role. That role requires someone who really wants something bad enough that he is capable of doing whatever it takes, and I did not doubt the ability of his character to do just that. Discussing Curtis reminds me of the costuming by Stephanie Bruckman. Of all the times I have seen this show, this was my favorite yellow suit. I enjoyed all of the costumes in the production, and there is a choice at the end of the show with the Tucks that I will not spoil, but I will say it made me audibly chuckle.

As a story, the strong point in this production was the final ballet sequence, that shows the wheel of time, and life, with its joys and its sorrows. Director Rufener had made some unorthodox choices to represent past and future within the characters throughout the show, which to be honest took me a little bit to understand as an audience member. Once my mind acclimated to the vision, I saw the beauty behind it. That symbolism that was found in the shadows throughout the story came to the center stage during the final ballet, where we saw the story of Winnie Foster play out before us in just a few moments. I am not a stranger to this show, having seen it not only on Broadway, but through my daughter’s high school and other locations across Utah. Looking at it through the lens of shadows that have been and what could be gave it new meaning, and I appreciated that. 

I am glad that my prediction when I first saw Tuck on Broadway was correct, and that this short-lived Broadway show is getting its everlasting life in the community circles. It has a deep story and Rufener and her team have done a great job at giving us a reason to ponder what we all do with the time we have been given.

Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s production of Tuck Everlasting plays at 99 East 4700 South Washington Terrace, Utah 84405 February 24  through April 8, 2023 at 7:30 PM on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $13 to $20.  For more information, visit terraceplazaplayhouse.com.