It all begins with a dream.
Spanning over 150 years and three generations, The Lehman Trilogy’s vast and epic saga infused with Mark Bennett’s melodic retro-inspired original music featuring solo musician Joe LaRocca enhances a trilogy of versatile, pliable, dynamic, and unforgettable talent in three chapters embodying a wide range of characters on their able shoulders. Timed perfectly in the month of July, three Bavarian Jewish immigrant brothers take on America searching for the perfect business venture that personify their vision starting in Montgomery, Alabama and beyond.
Based on a true story and the bestselling book of the same name with fascinating direction by Carey Perloff, The Huntington continues Stefano Massini’s The Lehman Trilogy live and in person at The Huntington Theatre through Sunday, July 23. The production is three hours and 35 minutes with two intermissions. Click here for more information and for tickets.
Decked out in top hats and tailored black suits embroidered with symbolic imagery on the back by Dede Ayite, it is difficult to fathom how these three actors navigated such an extensive yet detailed story including narration, mastering accents, contorting faces, changing mannerisms, and role changes at the drop of a hat all while making it look so seamless. It is even difficult to imagine such an epic production has been performed twice in one day as scheduled occasionally during the production’s run.
From meager beginnings to extraordinary meaning that spring to life as Steven Skybell as determined and confident Henry Lehman disembarks from a ship with only a mere suitcase in his possession in awe of America. It sounds like a story shared by many immigrants with nothing but a dream, but it’s the chutzpah, persistence and the resilience in everything that makes this particular tale shine. Business through love, children, and every chaos in-between to attempt what seems impossible. Points in history that transformed the United States and yet Lehman stands unrelenting to their dream. Each vision altered to suit what is needed next in the world.
What stunning innovation can spring from a modest factory! Sara Brown’s unassuming wooden warehouse metaphorically transforms through lifelike, mesmerizing and moving projections including illuminating rain, peerless rooftops, and surprising entryways created imaginatively by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew and fueled by lighting designer Robert Wierzel.
Also noteworthy are the clever scene transitions especially in the third chapter such as the pop of a champagne bottle to the start of a race. It is in these careful details by Carey Perloff that keep up the show’s swift pace.
The show has a sleek sophistication and insightfulness that translate into lessons about navigating life itself. It is lengthy but justified in the expansive history of these visionary brothers. The real draw is not only the talent, but the evolution of this narrative tale. One valuable life lesson is it is not in failure, but how to respond to it that really matters. Mastery leaves no room for shortsightedness, but thrives on evolution and the answer to every problem is there. One just needs to spot it.
Steven Skybell as inquisitive, bright eyed and headstrong Henry Lehman, Joshua David Robinson as strategic Emanuel Lehman, and introduced with a sheepish half smile Firdous Bamji as Mayer Lehman form a trilogy of talent. They navigate these challenging roles with humor, discipline, and fervor and it is astounding to witness these actors onstage exchanging different countenances of various ages and genders, taking over narration, and moving the stories like, not by accident, a well oiled machine. However, the tale is also infused with all the humor, heart, camaraderie and determination demonstrated in groundbreaking and strategic fashion that never becomes ineffective or silly. It is smart, moving and detailed in a way that relates to anyone who has tried, failed, and has resolved to start again.
Based on a true story and the bestselling book of the same name with fascinating direction by Carey Perloff, The Huntington continues Stefano Massini’s The Lehman Trilogy live and in person at the Huntington Theatre through Sunday, July 23. The production is three hours and 35 minutes with two intermissions. Click here for more information and for tickets.