Is not being bad good enough? Why do bad things happen to good people? How much sacrifice is "enough"? What is "family" anyway?
These are among the intriguing questions posed by "Saturday's Warrior/The White Star," a reprise and sequel, written by Doug Stewart and directed by Matt Neves, marking the 35th anniversary of the landmark production.
Cleverly woven together into a whole, the show includes a revue of "Saturday's Warrior," narrated by the character of Pam Flinders, played with depth and emotion by Carrie Colton. It segues smoothly into the sequel, in which narration duties are taken over by Luke, a born-again convert who lives next door to the now grown Jimmy Flinders. Andrew Luke takes on this role, as well as that of Elder Kestler in the revue, with appropriate fervor and panache.
The revue includes all the memorable songs and story lines, condensed a bit, but providing the perfect setup for "White Star."
Although by the end of "Saturday's Warrior," rebellious teenager Jimmy Flinders has found his way literally and figuratively back home, the ensuing years have not exactly been easy on him, and at the beginning of "White Star," he is totally inactive in his faith. Now the father of four, he must still find his way back to the light.
Casey Elliott does an amazing job as both young and older Jimmy, bringing not only credibility to the passing years, but also capturing the essence of the soul-wrenching processes he is caught up in.
Jimmy and Pam, watching over the family from "the other side of the veil," continue in the same role. For the rest of the cast, those in the first part take on different roles in the second, and they all do it well, from the youngest members, Collin Worland and Morgan Tew, to the "ancestral" David Weeks and Shandra Worthen. Taylor Eliason is also very good as Matt, Jimmy's son, who plays a pivotal part in helping his dad find his way. And Jeff Long does well as Todd/Jubal.
The cast has a nice chemistry that makes family connections believable and voices that do justice to the music.
Lex de Azevedo did the songs for "Saturday's Warrior," and those tunes still hold up both musically and emotionally. The songs in "White Star" bear Janice Kapp Perry's indelible stamp. They are stirring and memorable, and while some tie integrally to the show, songs such as "Gentle Savior" could well become standalone classics.
If you remember "Saturday's Warrior," you will enjoy this powerful continuation of the story. But even if you haven't seen the earlier production, you will be easily caught up in this engaging, fast-paced story.There is humor, but there are also tears. Ultimately, it is a story of love and redemption, of the importance of family and the necessity of both faith and hope in life, in the Atonement and in the Savior.