UPDATE: Due to a positive COVID test in the cast, performances have been rescheduled to 7 p.m. July 21-23, still at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center.
By Katherine Karlson
On June 24, SPARE Productions opens a brief run of an innovative song cycle about people on the run — from dead-end jobs and failed relationships — at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center in Owego.
Fugitive Songs blends folk music with contemporary pop and blues through a musical theater lens. It tells the story of a group of Millennials whose actual lives don’t quite meet their expectations. How they avoid running away from the disappointments and find their place in the world is the theme of the production.
“The world is not what they thought it would be,” said Caleb Park, co-director who also takes the role of Matt in the production. Morgan Taylor is the other co-director as well as choreographer.
“They’re not living in the moment so much as existing in it,” Park added.
For example, a young woman receives an “almost kiss” from a boyfriend who eventually leaves her, which shows that “you have to work to keep a relationship going,” Park said.
“It’s not a Hallmark Movie,” he added.
Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen wrote the 19-song cycle, which first appeared on Broadway in 2008. It appealed to the SPARE board because everyone found a song with which to identify.
The cast is comprised of seven actors who each take an individual part, and each one is equally important.
“We are all the leads with our own stories, which progress from one song to another,” said Jarod Hinton, who has the role of Joshua and is also assistant music director.
“One production of Fugitive Songs can vary drastically from another. Much of the show is open to interpretation, especially because there is subtle messaging through the modern dance choreography,” Park said.
The set is minimalist, black box, which suits the focus on each individual, he added.
“We hope the audience will be blown away by the talent that’s on stage. Some cast members are coming back to the stage for the first time in a while,” Hinton said.
“It has something for everyone, no matter your age, because everyone can connect with these songs and who sings them. These are real people, not fairy tale characters,” he added.
IF YOU GO: SPARE Productions will present Fugitive Songs June 24-26 at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center, 42 Delphine Str., Owego. Friday and Saturday performance are at 7 p.m. and Sunday is at 3 p.m. Tickets at $12-$15 can be purchased online at tiahwaga.com.