Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"Everything Changes: A Parking Lot Concert" by Yellow Tree Theatre in a parking lot

Everything changes, and that's perhaps never been more true in my lifetime than this year. But what hasn't changed is people's need to share stories and music, and the connection that it brings to us. Yellow Tree Theatre's outdoor drive-in parking lot concert entitled "Everything Changes" is a prime example of that. A parking lot full of cars, five performers on a makeshift stage, some speakers and a radio frequency - an unconventional set-up but a familiar and beloved experience of audience and artists sharing stories, music, energy, and light.

While produced by Yellow Tree Theatre (who is also planning an afternoon of spooky storytelling outdoors in a park later this month), this concert is the brainchild of #TCTheater artist Joel Liestman, who curated the show. He also provided the narrative for the show, leading us through the strange and traumatic events of this year (specifically a global pandemic and a greater awakening to the racial injustices of this world), and the musical response to it. In addition to the fantastic performances by Joel, the cast (Kersten Rodau, Lamar Jefferson, and China Brickey), and music director/accompanist Andrew Fleser, the wonderful thing about this show was that the performers shared their stories and experiences of this year. They were open and vulnerable, in a poignant and relatable way.

And now on to the music! Here's the songlist for those of you who like such things:

  1. "Welcome to the Lot" - original lyrics set to the tune of Come From Away's "Welcome to the Rock," cast
  2. "Anybody Have a Map" from Dear Evan Hansen, Kersten and China
  3. "Michael in the Bathroom" from Be More Chill, Lamar
  4. "Flowers" from Hadestown (tour currently scheduled to stop in Minneapolis next summer), China
  5. "There Will Be a Miracle" from See What I Wanna See by Michael John LaChiusa (whose work was most recently seen in #TCTheater at Theater Latte Da with their stunning production of Bernarda Alba in January, and hopefully next in Theatre Elision's upcoming at some to be determined date production of First Lady Suite), Kersten
  6. "Who I'd Be" from Shrek, Joel
  7. "Cookie Crumbles" (not from a musical), China
  8. "We're All in this Together" from High School Musical, Joel
  9. "Everything Changes" from Waitress, Kersten
  10. "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime, Lamar
  11. "One hand in my pocket" from Jagged Little Pill (which opened on Broadway last December and is currently suspended until June 2021), China
  12. "Back to Before"  from Ragtime, Kersten
  13. "Keys (It's Alright)" from Passing Strange, Lamar
  14. "You Will be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen, cast

I'm afraid it's going to be a long, lonely winter, but until then I'm going to soak up every outdoor theater experience I can, to get me through to a better 2021. Everything changes, and hopefully the experiences of this year will create a change for the better.

Lamar Jefferson, China Brickey, Kersten Rodau, and Joel Liestman
being photographed by YTT's Artistic Director Jessica Lind Peterson
(photo from @cherryandspoon Instagram)