Purple Crayon Players’ ‘Tuck Everlasting’ explores the magic of growing up


Maya Slaughter/The Daily Northwestern

The cast of “Tuck Everlasting” performs the opening number.

Maya Slaughter, Reporter

If you had the chance to live forever, would you?

The protagonist of the musical “Tuck Everlasting,” 11-year-old Winnie Foster, contemplates this very question after the Tuck family offers her eternal life. Presented by Purple Crayon Players, “Tuck Everlasting” will open this weekend at the McCormick Auditorium. Tickets are free and can be reserved via Eventbrite.

PCP is Northwestern’s Theatre for Young Audiences theatre board. Communication sophomore Lili Tarnopol, who plays Winnie, said there will be two main audience groups attracted to the show: college students and children.

Despite the show’s appeals to younger audiences, Tarnopol emphasized her personal connection to the show as a college student feeling her youth coming to an end. As Winnie discovers the magic and importance of growing up, Tarnopol said she wants audiences to realize getting older is a beautiful thing, rather than a scary one.

Communication junior and Director Frances Mary McKittrick believes the musical “shows this level of fun that can be had even when you’re a grown up.”

“You have to pay your utility bill — which is a horror attack and a half — but then you get to have your friends over for wine and cheese at your very first apartment, and that feels awesome,”  McKittrick said. 

McKittrick said the show also addresses themes of embracing differences. She said the Tucks, the titular immortal family, are shut out because they can’t age.

When people feel insecure about their differences, they must open up about sharing them as it’s “often something that someone else thinks is the coolest thing ever,” McKittrick said.

Winnie is one of the first characters to embrace the Tucks’ gift of eternal life, and the Tucks realize they must cherish each other more than they have before.

Tarnopol said “Tuck Everlasting,” unlike some other TYA shows, doesn’t patronize the audience.

“We can be honest to children and be truthful to them … and they’ll understand it,” Communication senior and Producer Clay Lawhead said. 

Winnie learns to deal with complicated themes throughout the show, such as life, loss, love and grief that children begin to understand all too well. 

Although these themes can be daunting for both adults and children, Lawhead said they are still important to explore. Tarnopol echoed this sentiment by promising that everyone who comes to see the show will resonate with it in some way because its themes are universal.

“I don’t often find myself in shows where I really need to hear the message that it’s giving,” she said, “but this is definitely one of them.”

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