By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Aug 20, 2015 – The modern musical has its glories, but none unabashedly embrace pure feeling in quite the way Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt did in the 1960s.
So be thankful for Palm Beach Dramaworks’ ongoing summer “concert” series reviving classic and not-as-well-known musicals, and in this instance, its courageous celebration of heartfelt sentiment as opposed to cheap sentimentality in 110 In The Shade.
The salvation of true love, love of one’s self-worth and inner beauty, love of family, love of community, love of someone special, love unlike anything pallidly imitated on a Hallmark card or Movie of the Week, all this lies at the core of director Clive Cholerton and the fine cast’s moving resurrection of this gem from 1963.
Based on N. Richard Nash’s play and later film The Rainmaker, it tells of the spinster Lizzie living on a Texas cattle ranch in the 1930s in a small town staggering in the midst of a killer drought. A charismatic conman Starbuck appears, promising to bring rain. While he reawakens the town’s inner spirit, the real story is how he ends Lizzie’s emotional drought by making her see the loveliness inside her.