Have to put something happier up here. On Sunday, I went with my father to see an early version of Clint Holmes' new musical Breathe! My father has been a friend of Holmes for awhile as the singer plays tennis and is involved in some of the same charity work. I went with my mind open as I really don't know much of his work (as his recording career skips the 1980s) but knew that he was making an abrupt detour from his performances on the Las Vegas Strip.
It was a small venue where the third and last preview of this musical was shown. There were few frills on the stage as we are told by a narrator of the stage setting during scene changes... pretty much it was about 6 chairs in an arc open toward the audience. I have to say that the music (especially the first 4 songs) was fantastic. All original tunes that hit heart strings and continued pushing the story about the life of this title character played by Mr. Holmes.
Essentially, a man grows up in a multi-racial family (much of this is true of Holmes' upbringing) unsure of which world he belonged in but found an escape in music. Racial issues play a big role in this film as his father mentions the three things that can't be changed: death, taxes and the color of your skin. Meanwhile, the family relationships take center stage as he deals with his inability to understand his father, mother, sister, wife and son. A lot of the wife and son issue is reminiscent of "Cats In The Cradle" as he has been so focused on his career and keeping money coming in that he hardly knows his family.
I'm not going to ruin too much of this show but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised as the performances were well above expectations. The woman playing his mother had an unbelievable voice. Yes, the story has some elements of "Comfortable Shoes" (a one-man play he also starred in) but the terrific casting, great music and a bold approach to telling many stories at once makes this a Broadway-hopeful worth taking the time to see. I actually had to pause, look over at my own father, see the connections on our relationship and consider the closeness I have with the rest of my family. I can only hope that the writing continues (as many scenes weren't finished yet) and this musical gets out there to affect the masses.