HEAVENLY COUNTRY at Two Roads Theatre

Photo by David Sprague

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way.

Joel Russell’s Heavenly Country, receiving its World Premiere currently at Two Roads Theatre in Studio City, is billed as “a jukebox musical in the country, gospel, spiritual & related genres”. If that sounds like too much for a two-act, six-character show to encompass, it is also heralded as “a musical where famous country, gospel, blues, rockabilly, spiritual and bluegrass songs tell a love story!”. At times it also feels like an intervention turned into an AA meeting. It is Russell’s first produced play, and he has bitten off way more than he can comfortably chew, and his audience can attempt to digest in the two-hour running time. He manages to shoehorn 22 songs that mostly have little relation to the scene preceding them. The transitions are abrupt or just plain absent. Read more…