American Theater Magazine - Feature Story - Lindsay Wilson, 2013
IT’S A “SCI-FI FANTASY MUSICAL” ABOUT MARIE Antoinette and her adventures on a time-traveling hot-air balloon. It’s also the show that left Dallas critics breathless during its workshop run in 2012, winding up on numerous end-of-year best-show lists. On the Eve combines a fantastical book by actor Michael Federico, performances by some of the area’s top acting talent, and a driving rock score by Home by Hovercraft, a local band known for its theatrical bent. How theatrical? Its lead singer, Seth Magill, also plays Eve’s hero Chase Spacegrove, while Magill’s wife, Shawn, music-directs on keyboard.
Dallas Morning News - 2014 Show Review - Nancy Churnin, January 2014
If you say you want a revolution, as the Beatles wrote, you ought to see On the Eve first. The crazy little rock musical that caused so much buzz at its sold-out workshop at Nouveau 47 in 2012 has invaded Theatre Three for its world premiere. This soul-searching play within a play by Seth Magill, Shawn Magill and Michael Federico starts in a post-apocalyptic world with sirens that send the actors scurrying.
Dallas Observer - 2014 Show Review - Elaine Liner, January 2014
If the future of theater, in Dallas or anywhere else, has more shows coming up with the thrilling ideas, energy, talent and art of On the Eve, then we have a lot to look forward to. This time-hopping rock musical (with Irish step-dancing! puppet sheep! giant disco ball!) was born in a staged reading in 2011. The show enjoyed a two-weekend run in late 2012 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park. Word of mouth made it a sellout hit back then, and we who were knocked out by it have been waiting to see how it would fare in a bigger remount in Theatre Three's 52nd season. Not only has it evolved into a better, tighter show — whew! — it's grown into something beyond any easy definition of traditional American musical theater. And bully for that.
D Magazine - 2014 Show Review - Linsday Wilson, January 2014
On The Eve starts with a bang—literally. Sirens wail and people cry out as thunderous explosions appear to rock the theater, immediately establishing an unpredictable atmosphere where life’s rules are just begging to be rewritten. In the end, the only thing louder than the bombs is the applause, much deserved for this jewel of a musical, which is enjoying its professional premiere at Theatre Three after a sold-out workshop run at the significantly smaller Margo Jones Theatre in late 2012.
Theater Jones - 2014 Show Review - Lance Lusk, January 2014
“I smell poetry…and love…and discovery!” a character from On the Eve exults. These words could just as easily have come from the lips of the rapt audience perched in their seats around Theatre Three’s Norma Young Arena Stage on opening night. The beloved tale of time travel, history, science, politics, art and a brave new world has taken an interesting little journey of its own. It went from strange brainchild amongst three super-talented theater and music artists (Michael Federico, Seth Magill and Shawn Magill), a stage reading in November 2011, a unanimous critical darling (as rare as lining up the celestial spheres) at the Margo Jones Theater in Fair Park’s Magnolia Lounge in late 2012, and now it’s having its “professional world premiere” as a part of Theatre Three’s 52nd season.
Theater Jones - Year In Review - Mark Lowry, December 2012
Local actor Michael Federico and Seth and Shawn Magill of the band Home by Hovercraft started doing readings of this new musical in 2011, and then raised five grand via Kickstarter for the world premiere production, directed by Jeffrey Schmidt. On the surface it's a story of hot air balloon time travel, going from Marie Antoinette's era to the present. But as a work of meta-theater, it's much deeper than that. The cast was committed, and the use of the Magnolia Space was phenomenal. And that 11th hour visual moment of catharsis will be remembered for years. Most of all, the songs, performed by the band (Seth also played time traveler Chase Spacegrove) are fantastic, with unconventional musical theater instruments like tuba, xylophone and Irish step-dancers, whose footwork serves as both dance and music. Look for an album with these songs, sung by this cast, in 2013. And cross your fingers that they're able to stage it again. Seriously, I haven't felt this psyched about a modern rock musical since I saw John Cameron Mitchell in the original off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
“Nouveau 47 and Spacegrove Productions’ gave us a new musical that’s joyful, original, engaging, restorative; with a cast, crew, and creators who so clearly delight in testing the boundless limits of the stage.” — Liz Johnstone
“As busy as we are, it is not often that critics get a chance to see a play more than once, especially ones that we are not reviewing. When I heard the unbelievable buzz about this show, I had to check it out. I was blown away to the point that I saw this musical extravaganza of wit, whimsy, and whirlwind performances twice.”— M. Lance Lusk
“It feels as if Dallas theater is on the cusp of a new era of greatness, and what better evidence than the last show of the year, the time-travel musical On the Eve? Written by Kitchen Dog actor Michael Federico and Home by Hovercraft band members Shawn and Seth Magill (who also played time-challenged hero “Chase Spacegrove”), the show directed and designed by Jeffrey Schmidt filled tiny Magnolia Lounge with really good rock music, Irish step-dancing, eye-popping bits of stage magic and stirring performances. The too-short 10-performance run left standing-room-only audiences begging for encores. If any show needs a repeat in 2013, it’s this one.” - Elaine Liner
New Musical On The Eve has Dallas World Premiere - Lawson Taitte, Dallas Morning News, November 2012
On the Eve is such a mix of the pretentious and the random that it shouldn’t work at all. Against all odds, however, it’s one of the most entertaining and exhilarating theatrical events of the year. Go figure. A character warns early on not to expect neatness or perfection. On the Eve certainly doesn’t give you those. Its rewards come from its willingness to try anything and its talented cast’s ability to bring off even the riskiest flights of fancy. Harms’ sudden shift from a bewigged flibbertigibbet to a thoughtful if flawed monarch surveying her life, for instance, is breathtaking.
Don’t Miss On The Eve, The Breakout Hit Musical that delivers Heaps of Fun – Liz Johnstone, D Magazine, December 2012
The experience is a novel one, right down to the clever clogging of the two talented Irish dancers (Abbey Magill and Shannon McCauley) that infuses the music with percussive sound and the idea of a living, bleeding statue (played by Maryam Baig) who ends up having the greatest instinct for self-preservation. It’s still the most fun I’ve had at a show in ages; what’s more, the cast and crew seem to feel the same way. It’s alchemy of casting and process, but also of a freewheeling story that actively disclaims perfection yet still holds together admirably.
In Magnolia Lounge’s On the Eve, 1.21 Gigawatts of Fun - Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer, December 2012
It’s about time a Dallas theater birthed a cracking good musical. This one, directed and designed by Jeffrey Schmidt, with a 12-song score by Dallas band Home by Hovercraft‘s Seth and Shawn Magill, is a small show that feels like the start of something big. Moving with the same throbbing beats and sexy energy of the musical Spring Awakening, it also is brimming over with the dark wit of the movies Back to the Future and Time Bandits. Good theater should inspire joy. In this show’s 135 minutes, joyful scenes and songs spill out like colorful candy. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets A Wrinkle in Time with a nod to Evita and a wink at Warner Bros. cartoons.
Theater Review – On The Eve – Magnolia Lounge Fair Park – Richard S Blake, The Column / Examiner / Pegasus News, December 2012
Spectacular, nothing less than spectacular! Spacegrove Productions & Nouveau47 Theatre presents a new rock musical with style, excitement, phenomenal vocals and astounding performances. “History is revision, words are power, time travel is cool.” With an introduction like that, how can you not be intrigued? The new rock musical On The Eve is a superb combination of musical presentation(s) that will amaze you. The creators and collaborators of this new work definitely know what they are doing and have obviously taken the time to get it right.
As I said, how do you explain it? Generally On The Eve deals with life’s decisions, how they affect you and those around you and, if you could, would you try to change them hoping for a “better” outcome? It’s a truly brilliant concept and its presentation is simply perfect. You definitely have to take the time to experience this exciting new rock musical. Let me be the first to say I’m sure it’s New York bound. I’d love to be there opening night at say, Circle in the Square Theatre, sit back, and revel in the success, talent and truly extraordinary creation called On The Eve created right here in Dallas.
Talking About a Revolution – With the enigmatic, rocking musical On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions and Home by Hovercraft create a show you won’t soon forget – David Novinski, Theater Jones, December 2012
[Home By Hovercraft’s] wall of sound will envelope you with lush color and swirling fragrance with a beat that will enlist you in its bouncing anthem stomp. You could use Polyphonic Spree as a reference point, but just when you’ve taken their measure the rhythm is reinforced by synchronized Irish step dancers. The only quibble may be the lack of an encore. So, if you want more, you’ll just have to return.
The show begins at humanity’s end. Amidst encroaching explosions a group of post-apocalyptic players agree to perform their story one last time. Gregory Lush’s narrator, The Talking Man, comes half from Cabaret and half from Clockwork Orange. In fact, the entire evening is a smorgasbord of psychological issues culled from the syllabi of Theatre Lit and Film Studies. It’s Brecht and Albee. It’s Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. It swirls with the lawless logic of dreams and would make a Freudian analyst a pretty penny in therapist fees.
This show seems born out of a desire for revolution but with the real awareness of the consequences. Characters/players are given chances to see and change their circumstances, but then must face the music, literally. Go and you’ll be inspired to face the music with them.
On the cusp. On the edge. On the brink. On the mark. On the lam. On the nose. On the money. On The Eve…. -Alexandra Bonifield, Critical Rant, December 2012
Mother Nature, blood-red in tooth and claw, jangles her gaudy bangles and flashes a predatory grin, relishing the prospect of portentous paradigm shift in Nouveau 47’s ribald, uninhibited, anti-establishment World Premiere rock musical On the Eve, book by Michael Federico with songs written and played live by local band Home By Hovercraft. “History is Revision. Words are Power. Time Travel is Cool.” Sitting through its performance (moderately full house on a sunny Sunday afternoon) is how I imagine injecting the sweetest heroin might feel, minus the dirty needle and nasty addictive aspect, pure joy flowing straight to the heart. It’s flawed. It gets repetitive. It’s loud. But what a glorious emergence of a new, raw, honest, raucous, energized, sensual, celebratory work of art. You want to be there, let a piece of it rub off, seep into your pores, wear down your world-weary cynicism as ye slouch towards Bethlehem, Ozymandias. Glimpse cast members rockin’ out to the onstage beat back stage. Join in. At the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park.
On The Eve is one of the most genuine, risky, creative, committed stage works I’ve had the pleasure to experience this year. It should be On Your Schedule to attend. You’ll come out smarter, sexier and happier, after.
On The Eve Review - Mitchell Owens, Radio UTD, December 2012
Trying to describe the plot would be a futile effort, because it’s so insane and intricate that I couldn’t begin to do it justice. But it is a look into storytelling, and what would happen if the players in the story decided to take the plot and their fate into their own hands and away from the ones in charge of making decisions. It involves Marie Antoinette, a time-travelling hot-air balloon, a dystopian reality, a failed hero of a future space cowboy, and a living, talking statue. It’s every bit as crazy and awesome as it sounds.
Most of this show firmly takes refuge in audacity, constantly attacking the fourth wall and seeing how far they can push the illusion of a show. A significant amount of the plot revolves around the narrator’s decent into madness as his characters revolt against him, and a number of these scenes are played so well that I really had to question whether they were scripted or if the actors were really revolting against the man running the show. This complete upheaval of order in the show is one of the things that makes me want to come back and see the show again, just to make sure that it was scripted or if everything just went insane when I saw it.
Watching this was a ridiculous and awesome experience, and as soon as I started questioning my own sanity about halfway through the play, I knew that everything was working exactly like it was supposed to. The fact that something this bravely original worked so well is incredibly encouraging to me, and I really hope that Dallas can continue to produce amazing original performances like that in the future.
Previews for premiere workshop production
The Story behind and unlikely pop musical and the musician couple who made it happen - Richard Sullivan, D Magazine, November 2012
We Only Have Limited Control - Jamie Laughlin, Dallas Observer, November 2012
The Eve of Something Big - Mark Lowry, Theater Jones, November 2012
Where The Heart Is – Home By Hovercraft explains how they came to write a time travelling musical - Hannah Allen White, Central Track, November 2012
Home By Hovercraft – Get to Know Your Dallas Observer Music Awards Nominees - Audra Schroeder, Dallas Observer, November 2012
Pre production press
Party to Raise Funds for Home By Hovercraft Musical - Rachel Stone – Lakewood Advocate, May 10 2012
Paving the Way for New Works - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, April 24 2012
Benefit preview for new rock musical about Marie Antoinette - Lawson Taitte – Dallas Morning News, April 17 2012
Excerpt from Q&A with Tom Parr IV, Artistic Director at Nouveau47. - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, January 22 2012
2012 Forecast: Homegrown Plays - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, January 5 2012
Off with their heads and on with the Show in On The Eve - Elaine Liner – Dallas Observer, November 15 2011
Home By Hovercraft produces rock-n-roll musical - Rachel Stone – Lakewood Advocate, November 14 2011