The Depressing Story of the Bridges of Madison County



review of bridges of madison county

It’s been a minute since I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing one of TPAC’s phenomenal Broadway shows, or heck review or write about ANYTHING. That’s a separate blog post…”Why Hilarie has been so overwhelmed and unable to write”. It’ll be riveting. I digress… This week I was able to attend the premiere of the award winning Broadway hit Bridges of Madison County at Nashville’s one and only Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  In all honesty, this will be one of the more difficult reviews I’ve written.

There are a few topics I really do not at all enjoy to view in any from of entertainment: affairs, cancer, hurt/sick animals and sad endings. *Spoiler alert* Bridges of Madison County covers two (possibly three) of these topics. It will come as no surprise to anyone that I do not love this kind of story.  I must admit, I never read the book or watched the movie, but after seeing the musical I did lots of online research to find the differences between the three and try to decide if I want to give either a try. I might.  In any case, Bridges of Madison County  centers around a love affair between an Italian woman who lives on a farm in Iowa with her Husband and two children as a housewife and a photographer from the National Geographic. They have a fast and furious four-day love affair while her family is at the state fair, which must come to a sad and painful end. Fun, right?

bridges of madison county

Watching an affair unfold makes me sick to my stomach. I find myself wanting to scream, “Stop! Don’t’ invite him! No, don’t drink the Brandy! Think of your children!!” I am not so naive to think that affairs don’t happen or that they’re even uncommon. In fact, the older I get the more common they seem, and I even realize that many couples stay together after an affair has taken place. I also know that people get sick and die, but just because it happens, doesn’t mean I want to watch it or read about it. I prefer fantasy, fairy tales and happy endings. Look, my anxious brain deals with enough turmoil 24/7, it needs a break from the heavy burden of doom and gloom. I need a little fantasy in my life. I don’t need a therapist to tell me that this is probably a huge reason why I am so in love with all things Disney.

I also realize that many of you do enjoy a nice heart-breaking story about affairs, love, sex and sacrifice. Sacrifice might actually be the saving graces of this story for me. One of the themes that runs through Bridges is sacrifice. What sacrifice will these characters make? Which love will they choose? Which path, if any, is the right path? I get that. Choices are hard, especially when it comes to love and sacrifice. The story is not all bad, and the musical itself, is certainly not bad. In fact, it’s mostly good.

bridges of Madison County musical

The singing, the acting, the music, the set and the costumes are all fantastic. I can appreciate and even enjoy a good show. There’s a lot of talent and artistry that goes into creating a memorable musical and I don’t want to leave you thinking I hated Bridges. I may have left feeling slightly depressed, but I did enjoy the talent and especially loved the set and the lighting. I truly felt the sun rising and falling each day over their small town. It was quite lovely.

I’ll leave you with this. If you enjoyed the book or the movie of Bridges of Madison County then you should definitely checkout the musical. If you are in search of puppies and sunshine like me, then keep in mind that Beauty and the Beast is coming to TPAC next month! Check out dates and tickets here for all of their upcoming shows. If you haven’t heard me say it before, I must say again how truly lucky Nashville is to have such a nice theater that always houses some incredible Broadway shows!


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