“Sometimes, you have to break something again for it to heal properly.”
1918 changed everything. The dying of the gilded age left many lost and confused, straining to find a path to somewhere safe. With WW1 and the Spanish flu throwing the world into chaos, a tent show rolls into town and, with great fanfare, is erected before your eyes, and you become its audience. But The Astrolabe Theater Company is more than it seems and runs on chaos.
So we witness the world backstage where the cast’s personal lives intertwine to help them heal, and how the boys friendship changes everything as they, themselves on the threshold of change, become part of the unfolding of the 900-year-old mystery of the Astrolabe Theater Company and discover the power that chaos truly holds.
In a nutshell, Act One starts with a pre-show featuring George playing Edison Cylinders through a big broadcast horn before the curtain rises on Alix barking up the show in a big opening number, during which the tent Is erected on stage.
Margery arrives with Lincoln at the Astrolabe tent to figure her life out after separating from Oliver. She tells Lincoln she is sending him to prep school in the fall, be he only wants to do theater like his parents. The kid is miserable. Mom is miserable. Lincoln sings his “I Want “song, which Charley overhears and counters with a song of his own and hints to him of the Astrolabe’s mystery.
Alex meets Lincoln, and they become fast friends. The “show” begins with marching bands, comedy, magic, song, and dance.
After Margery’s debut, Oliver shows up backstage to take Lincoln away from his mother and back to New York. Lincoln, upset at his parents arguing, runs away. Alex sets off to find and bring him back.
Back on stage, the show concludes, after which Alex sings and dances before the moon. A shadow crosses the face of the moon, and the stage goes dark, and the house lights come up.
In act two, Alex finds Lincoln, and then Charley finds them both as they hatch a plan to help Lincoln, involving Lincoln bringing him an original song to present to his mother without her knowing who wrote it. Charley presents Lincoln’s song and plans to Heloise and Peter, who agree to try it and deliver the song to Margery, after which Charley says that he will be leaving the show to go home and settle down.
Next….Hold on. That’s enough for a tease. Suffice it to say, there is more music and dance and a lot of soul-searching on everyone’s part as well. Above all, Lincoln learns what it means to grow up and see beyond his own troubles and that his true joy is to be the friend for someone else whom he needed for himself. Oh ya. Then, there is that shadow mystery, plus who is actually running this show, and what’s really beyond those tent walls, and how do we whisper in the ears of everyone in the audience? You need to see this one.