Strong Live Theater: Experience Over the Bridge

Strong Live Theater: Experience Over the Bridge

March 1, 2020 Off By Frankie Rose
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • The cast of Co Springs Theater production of The Bridges of Madison County
    Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)

Photos: Cortney Hanley

See more of Cortney Hanley’s photos after the text.

All people start out carrying this image of what we think love is. Love seems to be talked about like we can define or predict it. Often the questions the ones good theater is so good at addressing – if not answering, necessarily – are the most common. Have you ever been in love? Is it close to what you thought it would be? If you have been in love, you know where these questions are headed.

Imagine a whimsical belief about love that is so enormous it has others saying “That’s for dreamers and those lost of their heads completely!” Besides, while there’s time for art and beauty right now, when that marvelous loving relationship is found, war takes them anyway.

The Bridges of Madison County was produced in true theater style in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center last Wednesday night…

The cast of Co Springs Theater production of The Bridges of Madison County
“The Bridges of Madison County” cast. Photo: Cortney Hanley

The battle in the backyards of Italy brings chaos. Death brings big change but odd new hope, too. Freedom is within reach. Swept away to Iowa by the chosen soldier, we begin. Two children and what appears like a lifetime later, the adoring Italian woman wonders who she is now that it’s 1965. Fields and isolation weren’t exactly what she’d planned, for someone who has an education in illustration and luxury add-ons such as cooking or romance.

A four-day event in Indiana leaves homesick Francesca Johnson at the farmhouse alone. Michael and Carolyn, her teenagers, attend the State Fair to compete for “Steer of the Year.” Their assistant coaching-not-so-cheering cheerleader and Dad is the driver. Really, the lead lady seems mildly happy about time to herself but she wonders, what if..? After all, she gave up everything – a home, a past memory of love – to travel here. Life is fine and the family is fine. The tiny town with its pleasant people and everything in it is just fine.

Shortly after the rest of the family’s departure, a sweet, innocent-mannered, bridge-seeking photographer from National Geographic trucks in. The simple life is about to flip upside-down. Strenuously surrendering into fantasy weekend liaison, something vastly more like love unfolds. With a little help from her neighbor, Franny tries to desperately puzzle it back together when husband Bud and bunch return home.

Cast, musicians, and crew of The Bridges of Madison County, which was produced in true theater style in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center last Wednesday night, all directly transform into real inhabitants in the opera house sensation. Jennifer DeDominici, with mastery level skills, should play Francesca on stages around the world.

Talent is too minuscule a word to describe such full-bodied voice and acting. It was almost like witnessing Phantom for the first time. Her range, depth, and passion boomed as if she dug it out from your own soul. Both lead parts, along with all other entertainers, were so immersive you couldn’t help but resonate.

The charismatic devotee, played by Dieter Bierbrauer, elegantly accompanied DeDominici. His powerful but tender voice forced feeling through theater seats. Whether or not the heartbreak, fire, and confusion are from something you might have actually lived or not was hard to discern. The small-town-deemed “hippie” rolls in with full intent to leave only a day or so later, but he stays on the heart for far longer. Fighting for the only thing he seems to have ever painstakingly loved, Robert delivers a stunning presentation of affection. 

Whether next-door friend Marge is radio-singing the blues in some shade you’ve never heard, or her husband Charlie pastors out a southern dirge tune, you experience them all in your bones. Deep love connections may just be what holds us all together; the acting company made sure you knew it.

Harboring laughs, sobs and flowing daydream delights, the production in its entirety was remarkable. Local brilliance and expertise were magnified in musical genius brought by Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The detail on the set so precise, it carried everyone straight away. The score interpretation by each fantastic artist’s piece strapped us in for a radiant journey of what could be.

  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)
  • Backstage at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's "Bridges of Madison County" (Photos by Cortney Hanley)

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