Salvage Review – The Seeds of Redemption

Christopher Fordinal and David Atkinson in SALVAGE - Photo by Ed Krieger
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A world premiere, SALVAGE blends music and drama into a satisfying whole. With book by Tim Alderson and music and lyrics by Mark Heard, Pat Terry, and Randy VanWarmer, SALVAGE examines the role of choices we all make in life – and their sometimes unexpected consequences. Director Damian D. Lewis and music director Stephan Terry have worked together to create a musical which lets lyrics and spoken words combine to add a little something extra to each medium.

Christopher Fordinal and Nina Herzog – Photo by Ed Krieger

Old timer Preacher (David Atkinson) spends most of his time hanging out in an old buddy’s bar – mainly polishing off bottles of Southern Comfort and occasionally plucking out a little ditty about his bad decisions and lost dreams. Then, into Preacher’s empty cocoon, steps Harley (Christopher Fordinal), a chatty young guy who couldn’t resist seeing the inside of the bar where his musical hero, Floyd Whitaker, died. In his hand is his old companion and best friend, the guitar which he scrimped and saved to buy and which must now be pawned to support him and his pregnant girlfriend. And with that guitar go his dreams to become a professional musician.

Christopher Fordinal, Leonard Earl Howze, and David Atkinson – Photo by Ed Krieger

The three men seems trapped in that little saloon – the surly, taciturn Preacher; the eager kid ready to surrender his wishes and goals; and the inhospitable, irritated barkeep Johnson (Leonard Earl Howze), a man who may have some secrets of his own. Even when nobody seems to be listening, Harley keeps asking what really happened to Floyd Whitaker. When she enters the bar looking for her husband, pretty and very pregnant Destiny (Nina Herzog) finally breaks the standoff. It quickly becomes apparent – to Preacher’s and Johnson’s astonishment – that she wants Harley to keep his guitar and his musical hopes alive.  But even more surprises are in store. You’ll have to see the production to tie all the threads together.

Leonard Earl Howze, Christopher Fordinal, and David Atkinson – Photo by Ed Krieger

SALVAGE tells its tale through lyrics and music coupled with the spoken word. Happily, David Atkinson, Christopher Fordinal, and Nina Herzog seem ready and willing to offer their acting skills interspersed with song in this musical vehicle. SALVAGE should prove to be a crowd-pleaser as it melds melody and meaning into the story of people who are lost – but may find their way through music. Kudos to the creators of the poignant lyrics – worth listening to and spurring the story onward.

Director Damian D. Lewis, writer Tim Alderson, and cast of SALVAGE – Photo by Ed Krieger

Joel David’s scenic design is picture perfect – a seedy bar with lots of dark shadows threatening to shut out the light forever. Matt Richter’s lighting and Chris Moscatiello’s sound enhance the musical production while Wendell C. Carmichael’s costumes strike just the right note. SALVAGE will certainly be a treat for audiences who love drama, music, and dreams.

Cast, crew, and creators at the opening night reception – Photo by Elaine L. Mura

SALVAGE runs through January 19, 2020, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays (no performances on December 27-29). The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets are $35. For information and reservations, call 323-960-7712 or go online.


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