Adventure and redemption are the theme of the new West Coast premiere of The Burnt Part Boys - a story about the Appalachia region coal miners of the 1960s and the children they leave behind.
Struggling with the death of his father, 14 year old Peter (Daniel David Stewart) is determined not to see the mine opened again and especially sure that his older brother Jake (Aaron Scheff) will not return to the mine to work. Accompanied by his best friend Dusty ( Adam Dingerman) and their wild country friend Frances (Lauren Patten) , the threesome hike up the mountain. They are followed by Jake and his friend, Chet (Joe Donahoe.)
Directed by Richard Israel, this coming of age story follows a group of teens in West Virginia's coal country as they make their life-altering journey to the burnt part section of the closed down coal mines, which took the lives of their fathers. Going up the mountain they are children, but they come down as adults.
The book by Mariana Elder was enhanced by the music of Chris Miller and the lyrics of Nathan Tysen sang out the story. Acting was superb. I especially enjoyed young Adam Dingerman as Pete's best friend.
Out of a 10, I gave the play an 8. I think I would have enjoyed the play more if the acoustics were better in the auditorium. At times, the music, which has a inherent joy to it, drowned out the voices of the actor singers and overpowered the story. There was no intermission so the tension of the play was not dispelled by the break. Despite that the heart warming story touches you and makes you care about these young kids searching for a way to honor their fathers and find peace within themselves.
For those who are disabled, there is no elevator and only stairs up to the second floor theatre.
The play runs until October 20, 2013 at the Third Street Theatre ( 8115 W 3rd St., LA 90048). Call 323 655 9232 for tickets. Prices for these run between $24 and $34 (the later being for reserved seating.) Children under 16 cost only $15 if an adult ticket is purchased with it. (Use the promo code KIDS.)