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not being perfect, it still expresses that love that parents have for their children.” Like most audience members, Whitchurch often finds himself thinking about his own family during the show. “I’ve had to go back and look at my relationship with my father,” he says, “all the things I didn’t do and should have done, all the things I wished he’d done and hadn’t done that informs my emotional journey.” Leah Hocking, who plays Billy’s deceased mother in the play, also draws deeply on her per- sonal experience for her part. As the show was about to premiere, her husband was diagnosed with a debilitating illness that made the question of how children cope with the loss of a parent all too real. “When we first got his diagnosis it was really di;cult,” she says, “it was really close to home.” Not surprisingly, the themes that resonate most for her in the play are those relating to how a parent’s love stays with a child even after death. “Love never dies,” she says. “You may lose people in your life but they’re always with you on some level.” Hocking, a veteran musical theater perfor- mer, loves the story but expresses a deep appreciation for the musical component of the play as well. “;ey kind of reinvented the wheel when they put this show together,” she says. “;ey really didn’t follow any of the norms that were being used in the business for years and years and years.” Hocking calls the show’s “Solidarity” number “the most amazing piece of musical theater I’ve ever seen,” saying the integration of singing, dancing and acting with the complex storytelling is flawless. “It’s things you’ve never seen before or, if you have, you certainly haven’t seen them put ogether in that way,” she says. “It’s thrilling.”
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