'Pure Prine'

August 18, 2010

Aug. 19-Sept. 12
Phoenix Theatre

Usually, it’s wise to wait a few years before reviving a popular show. But the Phoenix Theatre has wisely made an exception to that rule with “Pure Prine,” its hit musical based on the music of singer/songwriter John Prine (“Angel from Montgomery,” “Dear Abby”).

That run earlier in the summer was scheduled for only two weeks, which left little time for word-of-mouth to get out that the show was outstanding. (You can find my review of the previous production here.). Waiting longer, though, might have meant losing some members of the near-ideal ensemble, which includes Tim Grimm, Bobbie Lancaster and Tim Brickley.

No, John Prine himself doesn’t appear in the show—and there’s no word yet on what he thinks of having his eclectic songs seamlessly adapted for the theatrical stage. But given the clunkiness of previous attempts to shoehorn pre-existing songs into “new” musicals, “Pure Prine” is an even more remarkable achievement. I’m looking forward to seeing it again. Details here.