Strike Struck.

Last night I had a chance to see Strike! – The Musical at The Burton Cummings Theatre here.
Disclaimer: I’m not a usually a big fan of musicals. Most professional musicals that I’ve seen (which probably amount to less than two dozen in my lifetime), are either simply treacly or trite and unconvincing. The music of musicals typically sounds like cats (pardon the reference) thrown in a bag. And the storylines usually remind me of children’s literature by failed writers. Further, musicals, to me, falsely try to equate emotional musical content with disconnected fictive worlds. They fall flat because they try to heighten the senses while hiding their subject matter.
Not so with Strike! I went into the performance, as I always try to do, open minded and excited to see what composer Danny Schur has been working feverishly to accomplish. Strike!, in my mind, succeeds because it’s a fundamentally moving story of a fictive group of people in 1919 who accidentally and unintentionally changed the way things work in the world. These people, despite the sheer diversity of their backgrounds and experiences and beliefs, sing their way to a kind of freedom.
As my wife said last night, the people portrayed in the performance worked 60 hour weeks, six days a week and made next to nothing doing it. The delight in the actors’ voices, the solemnity of the characters’ desires, and the lovely and lovingly written score combined to make a powerful statement about being alive and being free.