OREM — I am a believer that music has the power to move mountains—and the human soul. A musical theatre experience most usually takes one to soaring heights of happiness and laughs; Fly More Than You Fall, however, takes its audience on a journey through a full range of emotions. Fly More Than You Fall is real, fresh, inspiring, and fit to be a Broadway production.
Based on a book by Eric Holmes with music and lyrics by Holmes and Nat Zegree, this show seemed to be the perfect marriage of a story of grief to modern musical theatre. Director Jeff Whiting fabulously organized performers onstage to present a contemporary narrative intertwined with timeless virtues and morals. I do not often give standing ovations, but Fly More Than You Fall most definitely landed me on my feet.
Housed at the beautiful new Noorda Center for the Performing Arts on Utah Valley University’s campus, the set for this production was a creative masterpiece. Designed by Ann Beyersdorfer, the stage was a layered home, with a living room on the bottom and a bedroom up top, that could easily be transformed into a variety of other locations (including the interior of a bus, a school, and a summer camp) thanks especially to the circular, rotating floor at center stage. This rotating floor seemed to be an essential piece to the performance that I absolutely adored, helping me to better visualize the movements and scene changes occurring throughout the performance.
Beyersdorfer did not just leave the set as simple as that; the home, lined with bookshelves, was adorned with tall branches at its columns, and the silhouette of a mountain range was painted on the edge of the upstairs bedroom. These hints of nature did not detract from the indoor scenes and were all that was needed to transform the entire stage to a setting where the protagonist’s paralleled, not-so-fictional story could also take place.
Lighting designed by Keith A. Truax complemented the amazing set, with warm colors during moments of merriment and triumph and with cold colors to set apart scenes wherein sadness, grief, and darkness crept in. At some points, when the emotions became too hard to handle for the main character, the entire scene froze in a flash of brilliant blue. Truax was also the star of the funeral scene, creating a burial place out of nothing but light. A rectangular box of light outlined a grave that performers seemed to peer into. Rather than a regular dark hole, the gravesite illuminated those that stood around—making it impossible to ignore the reality of death. It was absolutely incredible…
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