(each week, I'll include a beer I've recently tried at the beginning of the post. Try it for yourself, or curl up with an old favorite as we share the story together!)
Name: Puddler's Row
Type: Extra Special Bitter
Brewery: Conshohocken Brewing Company
Hometown: Conshohocken, PA
Nothing's as surprising as the taste of something strange..."
The first thing that grabs my attention is the instrumentation. Woodwinds join with instruments such as a Middle Eastern lute known as an oud (named after the wood it is constructed from) in intricate, Eastern scales foreign to the classic musical theatre ear. Solidifying this, the band is always present on the stage as they play. This makes the foreign appearance of their instruments and the style of playing them never far from our brain.
Second, the show's plot is a perfect blend of relatable and simple. There are no turf or revolutionary wars to be fought here. Instead, the show presents two cultures, each foreign to the other, getting along in the idealistic way two cultures should. The show is, of course, not devoid of conflict. Many characters have their own internal struggles to address and do so through the lens of these newly-met strangers. However, in this age of grand production, the show's focus on our humanity stands out as foreign and refreshing.
For those that saw the original production at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, or its recent tour: what were your thoughts? I will definitely be looking forward to Katrina Lenk's upcoming production of Company at the Jacobs Theatre.