Plenty of peace, love and the spirit and music of the ‘60s will be spread throughout the Columbus Commons this Sunday.
No, it’s not 1969, but that is exactly how the Shadowbox Live Theater wants it to feel.
The Shadowbox Live crew is bringing back its most popular show, ‘Back to the Garden,’ an original musical documentary in tribute of the Woodstock Festival, this Sunday, May 27, at 8 p.m. at the Columbus Commons.
‘Back to the Garden’ is a look at the famous music festival through the eyes of New York Times reporter, Rodney Benton, played by Jimmy Mak, showcasing music from the original.
This will be the third year for the musical. The first year for the event, in 2010, was held in Schiller Park in German Village and was attended by roughly 4,000 people, according to Nikki Fagin, Shadowbox Live’s director of media relations.
“It was such a wonderful fit in an outdoor setting because it is about the Woodstock music festival and it gave it such a wonderfully authentic feel,” she said.
The second year, 2011, Shadowbox Live was a part of the Columbus Commons grand opening, bringing in around 7,000 audience members and this year they are hoping to hit 10,000, said Fagin.
Fagin said that the outcome and feedback have been outstanding.
“Anyone who has come to see the show, who was a part of the original music fair has commented on how much ‘Back to the Garden’ captures the feelings of being at Woodstock,” she said.
Although the official show time isn’t until 8 p.m., Fagin encourages people to show up early due to the amount of people who attend and the various activities going on all day.
“We always tell everybody to get there early because last year people started showing up around 10 a.m.,” Fagin said. “And we’re expanding it to have more reasons for it to feel like Woodstock all day long.”
Fagin said this year there will be face painting, someone drawing henna tattoos, a drum circle, yoga with local instructor Gail Larned, and Mimi Chenfield giving lessons in free dancing.
Country Joe McDonald, original Woodstock performer and lead singer of Country Joe & The Fish, will also play a short set with the Shadowbox Live band right before the show starts.
A personal favorite moment of the musical for Fagin is the performance of Joe Cockers, “Get by with a little help from my friends,” towards the end of the second act.
“It’s an extremely powerful song on its own but when you look out at a crowd of 7,000 and everyone’s on their feet holding hands, singing this song, it’s a feeling that everybody needs to be reminded of,” she said. “To bring back that feeling of a huge crowd of people being in one place peacefully.”
Fagin said that is the main goal of the show.
“We’re all human beings and we’re all connected,” said Fagin. “And to remind people of that is so important and I think that that is always our goal of this show, to bring back that feeling to people.”
Back to the Garden will be at Columbus Commons and start at 8 p.m. Country Joe McDonald will perform at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
More information can be found online at www.shadowboxlive.org.