It's hard to find the words to describe the past month Gordon and I spent in Flint, Michigan for the world premiere of The Magnificent Seven at The Flint Rep. The show follows the 1996 U.S Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team on their quest to win team gold at the Atlanta games, imagining the gymnasts’ inner lives as they work to get their faces on the Wheaties box, all leading up to a star-making (and ankle-busting) vault heard ’round the world.
Director Catie Davis brought an avalanche of exciting ideas about how to realize a musical about Olympic gymnastics….without doing Olympic gymnastics. The cast (including Spring Awakenings’ Phoebe Strole as Kerri Strug and Come From Away’s Alex Finke as Dominique Moceanu) is wonderful across the board and the design (including lights by Jake DeGroot and set by Ann Beyersdorfer) creates a visceral, super-saturated deep-dive into the hearts and minds of the young Olympians. Duane Lee Holland Jr (an elite level gymnast himself, who trained with Dominique Dawes!) has captured elements of not only gymnastics but also the dance styles popular in the 90’s in his energetic choreography. There’s a pop rock score, there’s a Lyra hoop, there’s a quick-change into golden sequin jackets – we pack a punch into our short 96 minutes (see what we did there?) onstage.
The Magnificent Seven
March 31-April 16, 2023
Flint Repertory Theatre: Elgood Theatre (1220 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48503)
Book and Lyrics by Gordon Leary
Music/Orchestration/Arrangements by Julia Meinwald
Directed by Catie Davis
Choreographed by Duane Lee Holland, Jr.
Music Direction by Jeremy Robin Lyons
Scenic Design by Ann Beyersdorfer
Costume Design by Adam M. Dill
Lighting Design by Jake DeGroot
Sound Design by Matt Otto
Props Design by Miranda Sue Hartman
Stage Manager: Melissa A. Nathan
Asst. Stage Manager: Rebecca MacCreery