The story behind Swift Creek Mill's "Floyd Collins" 


"You go out and buy this CD and you will thank me for the rest of your life."

Swift Creek Mill's director Tom Width remembers those words well. They were spoken by Mandy Patinkin at a Richmond concert several years ago, after Patinkin performed a selection from composer Adam Guettel's "Floyd Collins" recording. Guettel, Patinkin promised that night, was going to carry musical theater into the next century.

Width visited Tower Records the next day to meet "Floyd Collins" for himself. For the next several months, Width recalls, every time Tower restocked their copy of the CD, Width bought it again and passed it along to another theater friend. "I loved the music for a year," Width says. "It's just wonderful ... it's so intricate." Then last summer, he went to Philadelphia to see a touring production of the work, directed by its author, Tina Landeau. By then, he had read the book, "Trapped: The Story of Floyd Collins" and was entranced by the legendary tale of the Kentucky man who became trapped in a cave. "I knew the music cold," Width says. "When I saw it with the characters, it just redoubled my affection for the work. And here we are."

Width and his cast have been in touch with "Floyd Collins'" author and composer. No details on when, but both plan to attend a performance at the Mill during "Floyd's"


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