by VICTORIA HENLEY
The Atlanta Opera lives up to its reputation for producing bold, daring, envelope pushing fare with an operatic adaption of Stephen King’s classic horror/thriller, “The Shining”, brought to life onstage at the prestigious Coca Cola Stage at the Alliance Theater.
Under the superb direction of Timothy Myers (Conductor) and Brian Staufenbiel (Stage Director), this live stage adaption manages to exquisitely encapsulate the palpable sense of dread, lingering doom, and mysterious history of terror which permeates every facet of this story.
The story centers around Jack Torrance (played with verve, vigor and commanding presence by Craig Irvin, whom has been lauded by top media outlets such as Opera News for his “rich, resonant baritone”), a down on his luck husband and father who takes on a seemingly unproblematic role as a caretaker for the Overlook Hotel, a secluded lodging destination with a pretty face and a savage history.
Jack’s affable and supportive wife, Wendy (portrayed by the enigmatic Kelly Kaduce, whose impressive roster of credits include title roles in Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Ama in Lescaut, and Rusalka, just to name a few) reluctantly moves into the ominous hotel with her husband while developing increased concern over the morose and malevolent beings to which her son, Danny (played with innocence and authenticity by Max Walls, an accomplished young performer with a resume boasting credits including principal roles in Caroline or Change, Mary Poppins, and Kinky Boots), has been exposed.
Jack, haunted by the memories of childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his own father, finds his sobriety tested when the spirit of the Inn’s former Caretaker, Delbert Grady (brought to life with villainous charisma by Victor Robertson), who killed his wife and daughters in a murderous rage, bribes Torrance with martinis and plants ideas in his head that unspeakable acts of violence against his family must be committed.
Meanwhile, Danny continues to experience night terrors and panic due to his increased exposure to the hidden realms, spirits, and demonic beings that are confined within the four walls of the hotel, and Jack continues dalliances with the demonic forces from the establishment’s tarnished past, which ultimately leads him toward a vicious and fateful downward spiral.
Grim, delightfully twisted, and filled from beginning to end with labyrinths of mystique and intrigue, this operatic stage adaption features wildly visceral state of the art visual effects, dynamic vocalists, and a unique, unexpected twist on a cinematic classic which is sure to remain with you long after the curtain has drawn.
The creative team who brought this epic thriller to life on the stage created a masterpiece with their cumulative efforts, including Alina Bokovikova (Costume Designer: whose beautifully curated collection of clothing consisting of classic 70’s attire for the key players and a whimsical menagerie of film-noir inspired couture items for the “other worldly” inhabitants of the hotel), Jacquelyn Scot (Scenic Designer, whose exceptional attention to set design created a sense of realism and surrealism for this edge-of your seat story, and Melanie Steele (Wig & Makeup Designer, whose talents also contributed an even more immersive audience experience).
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(Special thanks to Gregg and the entire Atlanta Opera team for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature!)
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