A Dream Goes On

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Monday, January 10, 2005
As a critic, I give any new musical what I call the “morning after” test. I go through the playbill as I’m sipping that first cup of coffee, and see how many of the songs I can vividly recall. Usually, there are one or two songs that stand out. But with Sacramento composer Charles Cooper’s gospel score for “And The Dream Goes On,” I found myself humming five of the songs, which is remarkable. (“Freedom”) Not all the songs are upbeat. The show’s musical peak is a number featuring the four girls who died in the firebombing of an Alabama church in 1963. Singing as the adults they never became, the four describe that they might have accomplished in life. The song is a showstopper. (“If I Were Allowed To Live”) The show also has well-written dramatic vignettes, like this one in which a self-absorbed reverend encounters a broom-pushing janitor, who turns out to be rather more important than he initially appears. Janitor, humming. Pastor: Who is that? Janitor: I’m the pusher of the broom, just like you’re the keeper of the dream. Pastor: Is that right? You keep on pushing, brother. Take it easy. Janitor: You can’t turn away from the one who keeps you spotless. I play in the same league as the disciples and the prophets. Pastor: What’d you say? Janitor: I said when you close the door, don’t forget to lock it. Pastor: That’s not what you said. Janitor: Yeah, but it’s what you heard. Pastor: What’s your name? Janitor: You ask everybody that? Or just those you haven’t seen before? Pastor: What? Janitor: I said I must leave you now, and tend to my chores. Pastor: Hold on. Who are you? But it’s the music that makes or breaks any musical, and Cooper’s score is studded with songs that linger in your head long after you leave the theater. The show is at Sac State’s University Theatre through Sunday, and tickets are free – just pick them up 45 minutes before showtime. Jeff Hudson, KXJZ news.