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Shadowbox Brings Woodstock Back to Columbus

Cassandra Zahran Cassandra Zahran Shadowbox Brings Woodstock Back to Columbus
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For the fifth year in a row, Shadowbox Live succeeds in bringing “three days of peace & music” to the Columbus Commons. The performance on Sunday May 25th, was a colorful, lively and involved one, featuring a cast that evoked passion and dedication to this singular, annual performance.

Shadowbox’s Back to the Garden did not go unnoticed. The Columbus Commons housed thousands of people of all ages, many equipped with lawn chairs, blankets and snacks, sprawled all across the park. The laid-back, easy-going mood from the crowd encouraged attendees to lay down, get cozy, and watch the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival unravel before your eyes. The plot was entertaining, comedic and uncomplicated, allowing any viewer to successfully follow-along with the play.

The performance was centered around main character, Rodney Benton, a New York Times journalist, who was sent to cover the happenings of Woodstock Music Festival. The three-day festival was held in White Lake, New York, featuring artists including Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane, performing for more than 500,ooo young people in one area. The performance was chock-full of dancing, peace signs, braids and musical numbers, creating a whimsical environment for both the crowd and the cast. The introduction of characters, through music and dance, kept the audience involved and interested, allowing the personalities of certain characters to evolve gradually throughout the play. The musical performances by the cast were full of life and completely committed, each character embracing their character as a Woodstock attendee.

The live band on stage was an impressive attribute to the play, the band members and cast creating a relationship through the musical exchange. Not often does one experience a live band accompanying a local musical, both contributors sharing a stage. Back to the Garden wanted to convey the genuine “Woodstock-feel,” and live music guided the listener. The live music and “special guests” were an ideal combination, pulling at the crowd’s heart-strings during these quick stories. In subtle breaks in the play, individuals from the crowd, “special guests,” would take the stage and would share a quick anecdote about their experience with Woodstock Music Festival 45-years ago. Stories about love, peace and music brought the musical that much more to life.

Back to the Garden had successfully served as an entertaining night out, continuing to follow tradition for the fifth year in a row. The talented cast filled the Columbus Commons with the sweet sounds of the 1960s, bringing back recognition to an era that positively influenced the progression of rock ‘n roll. I was impressed with Shadowbox Live and their ability to connect with a truly massive audience. One show, one night, once a year; myself and the audience could feel the dedication to this performance, and it made the experience delightful.

For more information, visit www.shadowboxlive.org.

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