The Bridges of Madison County, the musical based on Robert James Waller’s best-selling novel, is now playing at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara (South Pacific, The Pajama Game) and Steven Pasquale (reasons to be pretty, Rescue Me) in the lead roles O’Hara plays Francesca, a lonely housewife, pining for her native Italy in 1965 Iowa. One fateful weekend while her husband Bud (Tony nominee Hunter Foster) and their kids are away at the state fair, she meets and falls in love with Robert (Pasquale), a traveling photojournalist.
Here are five reasons to take the trip to Madison County:
The lovely score
The score by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown is flawless, from Francesca’s violin-rich opening aria “To Build a Home,” in which she recounts her voyage from war-torn Italy to placid Iowa, to honky-tonk tunes at the state fair to “One Second and a Million Miles,” the soaring duet for the lovers, the music touches the heart.
Kelli O’Hara does it again
This Tony-nominated star has given magnificent performances in a variety of roles from the child-like daughter in The Light in the Piazza and the confused suburban matron in Far From Heaven to the feisty union leader in The Pajama Game and the loyal but conflicted nurse in South Pacific. But Francesca offers her an even more complex challenge which she meets with dramatic and vocal expertise.
Steven Pasquale shines in his Broadway musical debut
Yes, this gifted actor and singer has never been in a Broadway musical before. He has appeared in such Off-Broadway musicals as A Man of No Importance, The Spitfire Grill, The Light in the Piazza and Far From Heaven (the latter two opposite O’Hara) as well as the FX TV series Rescue Me. His gorgeous voice and handsome looks make it utterly convincing that Francesca would fall in love with him.
The supporting cast that really supports
Not only are the two leads a dream, but the rest of the company, directed by Tony-winner Bartlett Sher, create an entire community around the two lovers. Particularly affecting are Hunter Foster as Francesca’s distant husband and Cass Morgan and Michael X. Martin as curious but caring neighbors.
It’s great for date night
There’s a reason The Bridges of Madison County made our list of the most romantic shows on Broadway. This is one of the few purely passionate Broadway musicals, a natural selection for you and your one and only.