What better place to have a play about a bohemian Mother/grandmother then Provence town, Cape Cod, the place where American theater was founded, and where “P-Town” was the capital of every protest that there ever was. This is the story about three women, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter. all three share a passion for music and that is where the similarity begins and ends. The story begins with Joy(Luba Mason), a hippie throw back singing in her bell bottoms and fringe lace right out of Woodstock, a bohemian through and through, nothing matters but the moment for her. She is having a memorial concert for her old music and life partner, Jump, who died several years ago. It is a celebration of his life and music. She has invited her daughter, Rainbow, Rachel as she is now known(Courtney Balan), and her granddaughter,Tamara(Celeste Rose), who both live in Oklahoma with there televangelist husband/ father. Rachel has repelled everything her parents, who were never married, stood for. Rachel is conservative, upright and wants nothing to do with her past. Rachel’s daughter is at the rebellious age where she questions everything her mother does or say’s and sympathizes with her grandmother. Tamara has taken up the gift of music like her grandmother and has some raunchy songs that she plays for Joy. Joy grew up with Joan Bias and is not used to this kind of music, but is accepting of her granddaughter as is she with her.
“Joy” was done two years ago on the Cape with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood. It had a different cast but the one done here is very good, with very good musical voices. It is also directed well by Amy Corcoran, set on a very simple stage, the lighting is very resourceful both in the psychedelic atmosphere and the blues, jazzy mood. The costumes are very emblematic of the characters, Joy the hippie in her throwback 60’s and 70’s clothing, Lou, her new love interest in her militant, I don’t give a damn fatigues, Rachel, in her proper attire at all times and Tamara in her teen modern dress, is very well appointed for each person.
The music and lyrics for the most part are very good, the title song however, fell flat. “Unexpected Joy” should have brought down the house, but it did not. It is a shame because many other songs like:”I Think I’m Losing My Voice”, “What a Woman Can Do”, “When Will I Have My Own” and “Common Ground” were all sensational. All four women in this show can flat out sing . The actors were backed up by four really talented musicians and the place rocked for most of the performance. It gave you both sides of the political spectrum, however, neither argument was over the top, nor biased on one side or the other. Upon very good singing, the show had some very good humor, Lou(Allyson Daniel), provided most of it with her rough, tough exterior, a blunt force instrument that keep the show interesting. All four characters blended well and kept the audience interested in what they had to say, they both made the audience feel compassion toward there point of view, yet, saw the other sides viewpoints as well.
The York theater is known for there great musical performances, this is my third trip there this year. James Morgan always puts forth a great effort and “Joy” is no different, it was an enjoyable performance with a good story and entertaining up beat music.