I'm on a play reading committee and have a few musicals to read in the next week or so.
I knew the rough outline of this, but have never seen/heard it. I listened to the music yesterday morning, read it thru last night and then listened to the music again this afternoon. I think it is cute that it has a Wisconsin base, but overall I found the plot too melodramatic and seems a bit heavy. It’s got the whole rape/pregnancy/murder/ex-con story, the love story between Joe and Percy (downplayed), and Caleb as an emasculated man (representing, of course, the whole town) which seems to be enough. Throwing Eli in as the Vietnam deserter just made me groan. I know that musicals are kitschy (probably partly why I tend not to like them overall), but this was just too much for me.
I’m not a country music fan so I didn’t really care for the music. I thought the opening song (rather than being catchy or fun) was just too operatic. Shoot the Moon, Come Alive Again, and Out of the Frying Pan were fun, but Sunrise (and not just because of the words) reminded me of Sunrise, Sunset from fiddler.