The following is performing in Lambert Hall July 28 & 29 2006. The ending was re-written and it's wonderful:
DEEP IN THE HEARTStrand Theatre, Galveston
By Alison Young; Arts Houston Magazine (Aug. Issue)
Good timing is everything, whether it’s music or theatrical dialogue. And the right time is also no trivial matter when it comes to love, as candidly explored in John DeMers’ new musical Deep in the Heart. Largely autobiographical, Deep tells the story of David, a Houston transplant, recently laid-off and celebrating his 50th birthday when he falls for Julie, a 34-year-old cancer survivor. Both have previous attachments: hers with a non-committal live-in country-singing wannabe, and his with a wife and three children in far-off Atlanta.
Julie and David are faced with the age-old dilemma of making a break from their known, albeit unfulfilling relationships, for the unknown filled with promise. Philip Lehl (David) and Kim Tobin (Julie) gave sincere and touching performances, from Tobin’s sensitively husky mezzo in “She Went Home” to Lehl’s buoyant, almost weeping tenor in “This Man That You Need.” Theirs was an entirely believable affair; sizzling at times, and also filled with pain - but always captivating to watch unfold in Galveston’s intimate Strand Theatre.
Complicating matters is David’s sexy and self-serving assistant who followed him to his new life in Houston, Meredith (a masterful Deanna Julian); along with Julie’s boyfriend Trent (an equally seductive Sean Greene), a user who enjoys the perks of his free ride with no intention of letting go without a fight. Dramatically powerful staging and lighting highlighted their shared scheming in “Hundreds of Miles.” Julian’s vocal tone was just right: clear and colorful, and she made Meredith someone you love to hate. With his sultry bedroom eyes and a swagger full of entitlement, Greene’s center-stage country act performances left no doubt why Julie fell for him in the first place. “At the Van Horn Café” received a deserved accompaniment of clapping and cheers.
Julie and David’s dalliance, however happy for those involved, meets with objections from Julie’s well-meaning best friend, Cindy, performed with a full helping of new-mother superiority by Georgi Silverman, who can’t tolerate Julie tossing away her life for a man not brave enough to obtain a separation from his wife and go public with his new relationship. “Think of your luck to have a friend like me!” she sings self-righteously. But will David and Julie let their chance at happiness slip away? DeMers’ musical dares to deal with subjects that are not neat and tidy. But life rarely is. With this stellar cast, ably directed by Darin Garrett, the audience’s hope that Julie and David will work things out is overwhelming. – Alison Young