Backstage Review: ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’
“Tiny Beautiful Things” takes the audience on a journey into those dark times that we all experience but seldom talk about. And it is done with nonjudgmental compassion that will bring you to tears.
Photos and Review by Dana Nollsch
Reno Little Theater starts its 88th season with the profoundly emotional play “Tiny Beautiful Things.” And I must say, what a way to start.
What is “Tiny Beautiful Things” about.
Cheryl wrote a fan letter to an online advice column called Dear Sugar; this simple act opened the door to something extraordinary. She soon finds herself being Sugar, a perfect fit in ways she could not have guessed.
As she answers letters from people in distress, her life experiences come to the forefront, and her compassion shines. We see the letter writers reading their inquiries as Sugar answers them. The stories these letters describe are intense and, at times, disturbing, with the occasional comic relief.
When we saw “Tiny Beautiful Things,” the theater was full of teenagers; by the end, most of them were moved to tears. This was not a bad thing. Confronting these intense emotions may not be easy, but it is healthy. Be sure to bring some tissues to dry your eyes.
What about the performances.
I have to say that the cast is perfect. Kelsey Varahachaikol, who plays Sugar, exudes kindness as she walks the letter writers through the profound experiences, finding commonality with her life choices.
The actors playing the letter writers show the vulnerability of people looking to escape the distress with emotions so palatable that the audience feels them like a breeze off the ocean. These are the emotions that brought the audience to tears, me as well. Bradford, Darcy, and Leila, are perfect for the rolls and show their ability to emote raw emotions.
I have to say that all the elements come together so well that Reno Little Theater’s Production of “Tiny Beautiful Things” is as near to perfect as I have ever seen. The acting, directing, set, and story blended to create an intense but fulfilling experience for Michelle and I.
Why go see “Tiny Beautiful Things.”
You should go see “Tiny Beautiful Things” at Reno Little Theater if you are a fan of thought-provoking stories from a passionate cast and crew. Be aware that you will have deep conversations on the ride home.
Tiny Beautiful Things is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos.
Directed by: Jessica Johnson
Kelsey Varahachaikol as Sugar
Bradford Ka’ai’ai as Letter Writer #1
Darcy Lenardson as Letter Writer #2
Leila Rosa as Letter Writer #3
Jennifer Flynn – understudy Letter Writer #2 & #3
Stage Manager: Benjamin Browder
Assistant Stage Manager: Keana Hamilton
Scenic, Lighting, Sound Design: Chad Sweet
Accent & Dialect Coach: Rosie Brownlow-Calkin
Intimacy Direction: Adi Cabral
Costumes & Props: Jesse Spooner
September 30, Oct 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 @ 7:30pm
October 2, 9, 16 @ 2pm
For more information, go to Reno Little Theater’s Website: https://www.renolittletheater.org/
Please be advised: mentions of sexual assault, suicide ideation, self-harm, child abuse, miscarriage, and death.
The show runs approximately 90 minutes – with NO intermission.