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Deeply Emotional, Otherworldly Talent

The beautiful landscapes of middle America are a perfect backdrop for the love story of Marriott Theatre’s production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. The breezy and romantic music, the gentle lighting and the intimate space creates a world in which falling in love is easy.

The plot involves an Italian housewife, Francesca, living in Iowa with her husband and two children. As her family leaves for a four-day excursion, Francesca meets a photographer, Robert, who is passing through town. The two embark on an all-consuming love affair, reminding Francesca of the romantic woman she once was.

The audience is kept captivated not only by the story, but also by dreamy lighting and immersive, theatre-wide projections. As you sit and watch this bewitching love story unfold, you can almost feel the dreaminess of the beguiling purple lighting. At times you may actually believe you are sitting on a back porch in Iowa at dusk on a summer night. Or at least you might hope to be. Anthony Churchill’s projections are breathtaking and encompassing. When coupled with the awe-inspring lighting design of Jesse Klug, the result is a clear emotional journey. Even if the projections and lighting were the only aspects on display, the audience would still know the emotional journey.

The vocal talent that has been brought together for this production is incomparable. The score is brash yet subtle and is enhanced by this theatre-in-the-round setting. Voices surround as the ensemble moves up and down the aisles and we are bathed in radiant music.

Nathaniel Stampley’s performance gives Robert a sincerity and calmness that enraptures. His voice sends palpable chills especially when singing without musical accompaniment. He is an undeniable pleasure to hear and experience. Kathy Voytko portrays Francesca as a woman with a heartbreaking past with grace. She keeps Francesca a real woman with depth and character. Despite the heightened emotions, she never loses sight of the reality and gravity of the situation.