‘Part of the plan’ brings the audience to its feet entertainment williamsonherald.com

The show covers three decades of her, and of her son’s life, from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Her son, now named Sean, is adopted, (played as an adult, by the very talented and charismatic Harley Jay). Sean has suffered an unhappy young life with his adopted father, a drunken, frustrated musician whose abusive behavior chases Sean’s adopted mother away. It leaves Sean a troubled young man with only the gift of music given to him by his neglectful father, (The Leader of the Band). Sean mourns the loss of family ties, and joins the army during the Vietnam War, where he finds friends and “family”.

Supported by Fogelberg’s poetic words and memorable music, the play’s sincerely fleshed out characters, weave in and out of Sean’s and Rebecca’s lives, as they want for love, understanding, deal with loss, need and give forgiveness, and “create” families, all which is “part of the plan”. It is a moving tale, with the beautiful music, equally matched with the cast’s outstanding voices, touching the audience to such an extent that at its end brings them to their feet applauding loudly and in tears.

The show has a truly amazingly talented close knit cast with actors from New York, LA, and Nashville. Several play guitars, including, the lead, Harley Jay. Jay was the first actor cast, and has been with the project for over five and a half years. He came from “Rent” on Broadway, and says he has loved that his real wife, actress, Jayme Lake, is playing his stage wife, Josie.

Kate Morgan Chadwick, a breath of fresh air as the female lead, says she has loved the play from the moment she read it. She told me, she and her husband have also fallen in love with Nashville, and feel the urge to set down roots. Daniel David Stewart, who plays the young solider Hirsch, has created such an endearing, sweet funny character, that it’s a joy when he walks on stage. Talented Nashville musician, JT Hodges, (Jake), proves he can also act, and is a delight as Rebecca’s love interest. And, Wyatt Rogers, the 12-year-old Brentwood, Tenn. actor, plays young Sean. Learning guitar from his adopted father, he has, like everyone in the cast, a stunning voice. It’s just so unexpected coming from such a small body.

There is not an off note with the ensemble, all talented singers and dancers, with many playing several parts. This is a show that is constantly on the move, making timing so important, so while you see them in the dark walking the next set on, the stage and lighting crew too must be applauded…and of course great kudos to the director who put it all on stage, Tony nominated for “Swing,” director and choreographer, Lynne Taylor-Corbett

However, it is the creative team of Kate Atkinson, (award winning Independent filmmaker and Producer), and Karen Harris, (the Emmy award winning, writer and producer) that are the magicians that created this beautiful piece of work. Starting with Kate’s idea of taking her love of Dan Fogelberg’s work, believing it could make a play, and then her partnering with Karen Harris that took “the idea” to the creation of a hit musical. It only took seven years, but it was worth it.