Lovely music makes the most of this modest production.
I really liked this story when it aired on TV because I really like this particular period of music, and there is quite a bit of music in this TV play. This is a story of a young girl from a small town who has a real gift for music and who has to decide between a normal life and an exceptional life.
This PBS/Mobile Exxon theatre production unfortunately suffers a bit from both the casting and the performance tone of many Hallmark theatre productions the writing and many performances are on the sweet side, even if the story is not. This hits a perfect tone for a teen audience, , and makes for a special that is very family friendly (although the story line is more teen than pre-teen).
There is a subtle undercurrent of older men "helping" the lead a long in way that is neither entirely savory nor entirely honest for our leading lady it is clear in the performances in of the men, but impassively ignored in the performance of the lead. That's a nuance that older audience members may find a bitter aftertaste.
The production in general feels a little studio bound. This makes it feel a bit less than some of the BBC adaptations from the same time period; but it does suit the story. The major message here is "be all that you can be." And with great production values, nice costuming, and uniformly nice performances, it is a nice family dessert. Churchy parents or musty grandparents will like this quite a bit, too. (Probably nothing here for Dead Head or hippie type parents.)
It is worth mentioning that Lori Stinson, who does the singing for Allison Elliott, does a marvelous job of singing for a role that grows from "a raw natural gift" to an enthralling trained voice. It's a difficult and subtle task and she does it beautifully, and that aspect alone takes the whole program up several notches.
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