The Arts

Next Stage Theatre Festival – Living With Henry

Next Stage Theatre Festival – Living With Henry featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Living With Henry
Next Stage Theatre Festival
Book, music and lyrics by Christopher Wilson
Directed, choreographed and dramaturged by Donna Marie Baratta
Performed by Ryan Kelly, David Silvestri, Lizzie Kurtz, John Edwards, Mary Kelly and Jay Davis
Factory Theatre Mainspace
Jan. 4 to 15, 2012


The Next Stage Theatre Festival remounts successful shows from the Fringe Festival, and Living With Henry was a huge hit.

The unusual musical is about HIV or Henry, personified by actor/singer David Silvestri. Henry is a rough/tough, tattooed, leather clad biker type, as good a metaphor as any for this insidious disease. It’s a very clever idea, as is the subtitle: a theatrical epidemic.

Christopher Wilson wrote the book, music and lyrics. At times the score sounds like all the other au current, small cast, soft rock musicals, but his lyrics do try to come to grips with the hero, Michael’s story. Director/choreographer Donna Marie Baratta highlights the emotional and dramatic heart.

The book packs a wallop. Michael’s lover Matthew practically guilts him into unsafe sex. In Michael’s relationship with Peter, the circumstances are reversed. Michael is the one with HIV.

Ryan Kelly as Michael leads a strong cast in this very compelling musical.

The Next Stage Festival continues at Factory Theatre until Jan. 15.

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