Taking on the role of Francesca, the unfulfilled wife and mother, is no easy task. First there's an allegiance of fans of Robert James Waller's novel who have their own version and vision of Francesca. Mix that in with Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated performance in the movie version and there's quite an uphill battle for O'Hara to win over both book and movie fans.
O'Hara proves she's not only the little engine that could, but she brings the audience along for the ride in a sensitive, layered performance that Waller and Streep fans would be proud.
"Bridges" is a beautiful love story even though it deals with infidelity. Francesca just has been making the motions in her life as a wife and mother, often missing the days from her life in Italy. Enter Robert, a sexy drifter/photographer, who wins over Francesca not only by his well-traveled life but by the smoldering sexiness that actor Steven Pasquale exudes.
The two have beautiful chemistry, making quite the postcard as they sing to each other with well lighted sunset backgrounds.
The story also paints quite a sympathetic family portrait, making Francesca's challenge choosing between obligation and passion a tough one.
Marsha Norman's book pays tribute to both the book and movie and works well with James Robert Brown's songs. The melodies are beautiful and the two leads make the sexual tension palatable.
The shining star of "Bridges" is definitely O'Hara. Having been a bridesmaid to the Tony Award many times, "Bridges of Madison County" just might be it takes for O'Hara to walk down the aisle at the awards ceremony.
Get tickets and information at www.bridgesofmadisoncountymusical.com.