Call it Mike Hannah’s adopted “Baby.”
Hannah is directing – and delivering – “Baby,” a musical by Sybille Pearson, Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire, presented at Lees-McRae College’s Hayes Auditorium Feb. 23 to 26.
The show, a clever blend of comedy, drama and memorable music, takes place on a small college campus and explores the impact of childbirth on three different – but interconnected – couples.
“One is a set of college juniors, who have just moved in together and haven’t known each other that long,” Hannah said, “but they fell in love quickly and moved into a basement apartment together and almost immediately find out she’s pregnant.
“They’re faced with this issue of growing up very quickly and deciding how to handle this. They don’t even know what majors to get in college, and suddenly, they’re faced with having a child.”
Another couple is comprised of two college coaches, both of whom really want a child, especially since the husband’s brothers are, shall we say, prolific.
“He’s got nieces and nephews out the wazoo, but he and his wife have not been able to conceive,” Hannah said. “They find out she’s pregnant and are overjoyed on cloud nine, but then she finds out her report got mixed up at the doctor’s office.”
Disappointed, but still hopeful, they attempt a series of exercises to increase the chances of conception, “and it’s really physically taxing and emotionally wearing on them,” Hannah said. “They have to decide whether having a child is worth putting this strain on their relationship.”
For the last couple, a college administrator and his wife have just sent their last of three daughters off to college and are now looking forward to being a couple again – until the wife finds out she’s pregnant again.
“They really have to decide, ‘Are we parents?’” Hannah said. “As soon as they got married, they started a family really quickly. They’ve simply been parents, and that’s what they’ve been. Now they’re forced to … really look at their own relationship and decide what they are to each other and what do they want the rest of their lives to be.”
The cast is rounded out by an ensemble of chorus performers portraying people in the campus and medical communities, also filling in some of the story pieces, Hannah said.
“It’s basically just about what happens, how a baby changes one’s life, whether you’re going to have one, want one, not sure if you want one or can’t have one,” Hannah said. “How does this affect you as a couple?”
It’s also a rather intimate production, no pun intended, featuring a smaller cast of 14.
“It really lets you see these three couples,” he said. “A lot of musicals are so big that the plot takes over and you don’t get to know the characters well. In this … you make some nice connections to these people. As a matter of fact, anyone who’s had a baby – or even been one – should enjoy this musical.”
Cast, Tickets and More
“Baby” stars Randi Sowards, Ethan Henry, Osmary Nieves, Richard Gebo, Makenzie Simpson, Jarrett Koski, Sarah Rutzen, Emma Sheffer, Chloe Boggs, Kaitlyn Buchanan, Ryan Tucker, Brad Skinner, Michael Prather and Stephen Redmon. Michael Hannah directs.
“Baby” runs Feb. 23 to 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $5 for students and children and are general admission only. They’re available at the Hayes Auditorium box office one hour prior to each performance. For more information, call (828) 898-8709.
Hayes Auditorium is located on Main Street in Banner Elk, on the campus of Lees-McRae College.