Saturday, January 19, 2008

Eric Kunze

Participating in and attending live theater has been my passion for many years. Occasionally, I will see someone on stage that is amazing. That happened to me last week. Georg and I attended "Whistle Down the Wind" at the Fisher Theater. It is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that has been adapted to the American stage. The musical itself has not gotten rave reviews. The storyline itself is a little hard to believe, but the talent onstage makes up for any shortcomings in the script. Justine Magnusson is wonderful as Swallow, a young girl suffering from the loss of her mother. Her voice is heavenly, perfect and on pitch. She's a perfect choice for the role.

She discovers a man in hiding in their barn, who she believes is Jesus Christ returned to earth. Her faith in him, despite his protests, is touching. She is hoping he can bring her mother back. The man is at first incredulous, but finally lets her believe it in the hopes he can use her to help him escape. "The Man", as he is called, is played by Eric Kunze. Eric has starred in many shows, including Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and Miss Saigon, among others. I have seen all these shows, but never Eric, before.

From the moment he appeared onstage, I was mesmerized. When he sings, he is able to portray the anguish he is going through. He bemoans the loss of what could have been and the situation he finds himself in now. He is a little in love with Swallow, but realizes he cannot take advantage of her innocence. She is willing to do anything for him, including endangering her life. They sing a beautiful duet together, "Try Not to Be Afraid".

By the end of the show, I had become a complete fan of Eric Kunze. So much so, that I returned to the theater the following night for a repeat experience. It had not been a fluke, I enjoyed it as much the second night. After the performance I had the privilege of being able to chat with him a little and tell him what a great job he was doing. After telling my niece Jessica about it, we decided to attend the show together. It was no surprise to me that she was entranced as well. We waited for Eric backstage and we had the most fun visiting with him. To see him in person, you would never believe he was the same person we had seen onstage. Onstage, he is larger than life; in person he is humble, approachable and personable. I have no doubt that if he wanted it, he could become a major star in any medium, including the big screen. But he doesn't seem to desire that. He loves doing what he is doing and is not a self-promoter, which makes me like him even more. I wish him well in all his future undertakings and hope that we will be able to see him again really soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was googling Whistle Down the Wind when I stumbled across your blog. I have not seen Eric in this show, but I did see him perform in Jesus Christ Superstar when it was on tour.

Though I have not had the privilege of meeting him, I was truly blown away by his performance and was surprised that prior to JCS, I had never heard of him. He's gotten stellar reviews in WDTW so I hope to catch the show at some point. He's such a cutie.