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Holladay Journal

REVIEW: ‘May We All’ a country-themed good time

Apr 28, 2024 04:06PM ● By Tom Haraldsen
When you start thinking about traditional country music, there are commonalities around
family, small towns and teenage romances that seldom last but create great memories. That’s
largely the premise of “May We All,” the country musical now playing at Hale Centre Theatre in
Sandy.

The play was originally produced and presented in Tennessee, and director David Smith
said this HCT offering brought him back to his roots of Mt. Juliet, just 25 miles from Nashville. It
has all the charms and cliches you’d expect from a downhome story, coupled with great country music and solid performances from its cast.

The story centers around Jenna Coates, played wonderfully by Emma Wadsworth, who is a would-be country singer who left Harmony, Tennessee to earn her fortune and fame in
Music City, USA. Wadsworth is a powerful performer who sounds like she could be a Nashville
recording artist.

After two years without much success, and down to her last dollar, Jenna heads back to her hometown under the premise that she’s become fairly successful. In reality, she’s come back home to find a vintage guitar her grandmother left for the family, planning to sell it because she needs the cash. Once home, she’s reunited with her loving and supportive parents, her somewhat snarky little sister, her best friend Liz (the wonderful Libby Ferguson) who runs the town’s bar, and her former boyfriend Dustin (Jordan Strong) who has a new love in beautiful and successful businesswoman Stephanie (Whitney Glauser).

From there, this story takes a somewhat predictable twist. Dustin isn’t completely over Jenna, who isn’t completely over Dustin, Stephanie isn’t committed to her relationship with Dustin, and Liz is still being pursued by her bar helper Joe (Nathanael Abbott–who quickly becomes an audience favorite).

Her family and friends share disappointment when they find Jenna has lied about her success and her reasons for coming home, but they also show benevolence and forgiveness. The twists and turns of all these relationships are bonded with great country music from pianists, guitar players, a fiddler and a drummer who bring the play to life. Choreography from Adam Dyer and Bryndal Braithwaite adds greatly to the production.

There are 21 great songs sung and played during the show, which has a stronger second act than the first, but blends at the end for a satisfying conclusion. There’s no way audiences can’t have a good time with the live music, dancing and amazing mechanical scene changes HCT is known for.

“May We All” plays Monday through Saturday nights, with Saturday matinees, through
June 8. Ticket information is available online at hct.org.