New musical ‘Trails’ is heartwarming

By Meredith Pectha, Theater Reviewer | May 08, 2013
Courtesy of: Jay Koh Dane Stokinger (Mike), Joshua Carter (Seth), Bobbi Kotula, John Patrick Lowrie, and Sarah Rose Davis (Trail Guides) star in Village Theatre's original production of "Trails."

“Trails” is a wonderful new musical in that it is both sadly nostalgic and heartwarming at the same time. It’s another original production from the Village Theatre whose track record is unmatched.

It tells the story of three lifelong friends Seth, Amy and Mike. They grew up together from the age of 7. Having imaginary adventures in the backyard, they dreamt of going down the Appalachian Trail, which spans all the way from Georgia to Maine.

But then a tragedy happened within their small circle. Amy was killed in a car accident, and Mike was at the wheel. He came out of the accident without any serious injuries, but a burden in his heart as big as a mountain.

Mike had been dating Amy since high school. What he never knew was that Amy loved both he and Seth. Both men felt the same way about her as well.

A dozen years after Amy’s death, Seth’s mother died after a long battle with cancer. When Mike shows up for the funeral (after a decade’s absence) he suggests that they finally take that hiking trip.

So begins their months long journey as they both struggle with the consciences and try to make peace with their lives. Along the way they meet a few other tourists.

The songs are lively and cover a wide range of moods throughout. Particularly moving is “Miles of Time.”

The set in phenomenal. It really looks like rock heads. But what really transforms the stage are the performances.

The cast is impressive as they continually go from acting their real ages to acting like kids and then teenagers. The body language changes from scene to scene for the flashbacks.

Joshua Carter plays the distraught Seth. His character has spent his life existing while his friends went out and lived their lives. He carries a secret with him, but doesn’t know if he should take it to his grave like Amy did. Carter, who has been in four Village Theatre plays, demonstrates his range yet again.

Making her Village Theatre debut is Kirsten deLohr Helland. Her role is quite crucial. It’s her crazy spirit that draws the three of them together into a family both in the past and the present.

The grieving Mike is wonderfully played by Dane Stokinger. He’s been in several different productions. Here his voice rings out like a nightingale. He shows how raw grief can make you, even after years. He wants to be good friend even though a part of him suspected his girlfriend’s feelings for Seth.

The duo meet three other hikers during their trek. Sarah Rose Davis plays Faith, who reminds Mike of Amy in many ways. John Patrick Lowrie plays a drunk named Virgil who trying to drink away his own tragedy. And Bobbi Kotula plays Momma Harley, a freethinker with a playful wild side.

If you want to be moved, then blaze a trail to the box office, before it’s too late.

“Trails” is playing at the Everett Performing Arts Center now until May 19. For ticket information call 425-257-8600.

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