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Theatre / Tuck Everlasting

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Does the story end, or never end? Does it fade...or is it everlasting?
"Don't be afraid of death, Winnie. Be afraid of not being truly alive. You don't need to live forever. You just need to live."
Angus Tuck, "The Wheel"

Tuck Everlasting is a musical written by Chris Miller, based on the 1975 novel of the same name. It opened at Broadhurst Theatre on April 26, 2016. Despite having positive reviews, the show closed on May 29, 2016, after only 39 shows. Nevertheless, the show has a relatively large fandom for its short run, as well as several award nominations.

The story takes place in Treegap, New Hampshire, in 1893. 11-year-old Winnie Foster, tired of sitting at home all day, decides to run away from her overprotective mother and grandmother and explore the woods, where she meets a family of immortals. Each of the members of the Tuck family has a different perspective about their immortality. The youngest, Jesse, loves the adventures his immortality enables him to have but wants a companion; his brother Miles is miserable because of what his immortality cost him; their mother Mae finds joy in reminiscing but struggles to be happy in the present; and their father Angus is content enough but simply wishes to return to the normal cycle of life. Winnie must decide whether or not to join the Tucks in their immortality. Meanwhile, The Man in the Yellow Suit is near to discovering the secret of said immortality, which he has dedicating his life to finding for his own gain.


The musical provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Many key elements of the plot did not exist in the original book, such as the traveling fair.
  • Age Lift: A very minor one. Winnie is 11 instead of 10, possible to match Sarah Charles Lewis' age when she originated the role.
  • The Apprentice: Hugo to the Constable, who views him as a Bumbling Sidekick.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Winnie decides not to drink from the spring to join Jesse in immortality. The Tucks discover her gravestone and know she lived a happy, normal life.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Yellow is normally a color with good-guy associations. The Man in the Yellow Suit, however...
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: A toad Winnie finds inspires her to run away into Treegap Wood, which leads to her meeting the Tucks. Later, she re-encounters the toad and pours the vial of spring water on it, making it immortal instead of her.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally. Jesse's gun shows up when Winnie first arrives at the Tucks' house, and later is used by Mae in a Mama Bear moment to pistol whip the Man in the Yellow Suit who is holding Winnie hostage, killing him.
  • Clueless Detective: The Constable and Hugo only find Winnie after the danger has subsided, and believe the lies they are told about what happened while she was gone.
  • Complete Immortality: The Tucks.
    Jesse: "Ma, where's my rifle? Winnie can shoot me!"
  • Dark Reprise: The song was already somber on its own, but "The Wheel (Reprise)" is a lot sadder as the Tucks visit Winnie's grave years later.
  • Death Seeker: It is implied that Miles is this.
    Jesse: I survived a free-fall, he survived much worse!
    Miles: Shut up Jesse!
    —"The Story of the Tucks"
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Man in the Yellow Suit makes a living being hammy.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Man in the Yellow Suit, who has been searching for the spring since his youth and is now in his sixties.
  • Exposition of Immortality: The prologue takes place in 1808, when the Tucks drink from a spring in Treegap Wood. After a Time Skip, we see that they have not aged.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: After the Tucks see Winnie's gravestone Jesse picks up the toad that had led her to him and she had poured the vial of immortality water he gave her to drink at seventeen on and puts it in his knapsack to bring with him on future adventures.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Jesse is fun, adventurous, and impulsive, while Miles is serious, laidback, and respectful.
    Miles: I see you're still playing in trees.
    Jesse: I see you still can't take a joke.
  • Friendless Background: Winnie and Jesse
    Winnie: [I'd] ask a friend to play/if I had one to let in.
    —"Good Girl Winnie Foster"
    Jesse: But because of my predicament... I'm a one man operation.
    —"Partner in Crime"
  • Friendship Song: "Partner In Crime," sung by Winnie and Jesse at the fair.
  • He Knows Too Much: Well, she— when Mae and Miles find out Winnie knows that there's a special spring, they kidnap her and bring her back to their house so they can explain in full.
    • Jesse had just asked of them, "can we keep her?" Well, he got what he wished for
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: The Man in the Yellow Suit holds Winnie hostage twice, the second more literal than the first.
    • He gets the Fosters to sell Treegap Wood to him in exchange for him bringing Winnie back.
    • He grabs and threatens to shoot Winnie to get the Tucks to show him the location of the spring.
  • Hot on His Own Trail: In "Hugo's First Case (Part 2)," Hugo thinks his footprints are those of a suspect before realizing they're his.
  • How Dad Met Mom - "My Most Beautiful Day"
  • "I Am" Song - "Good Girl Winnie Foster"
  • Literal-Minded: A number of the Constable and Hugo's comedic moments rely on this:
    • Hugo takes the phrase "leave no stone unturned" to mean that he should start looking under rocks for clues.
    • When Hugo says the Man in the Yellow Suit is "fabricating," the Constable thinks he means "fabric hating," which clearly can't be the case since he bought the suit.
  • Magic Realism: Treegap is a normal in every way except the Tucks and the magic spring they stumbled upon.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: Winnie and Jesse
  • Meaningful Echo: In the finale, Jesse sings lines from "The Wheel," a song originally sung by Angus about the circle of life, as he accepts that Winnie is dead, and they will not be immortal partners in crime like he had wanted.
  • Melancholy Musical Number: Miles sings "Time," a Troubled Backstory Flashback about his wife and son Thomas who abandoned him after his wife noticed Miles wasn't aging and suspected him of making a Deal with the Devil. Thomas grew up while Miles remained in his 20s.
  • My Beloved Smother: Winnie's mother, partially because...
  • My Parents Are Dead: The Tucks are mourning the death of Winnie's father at the beginning of the show.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Mae has a music box that Winnie and The Man in the Yellow Suit's grandmothers know the tune to. When Winnie and Mae part ways, Mae gives Winnie the music box to remember them by. Its melody is heard in The Story of Winnie Foster towards the end of Winnie's life.
  • Opening Ballet: Inverted; the show ends with a ballet, showing how the rest of the Winnie's life plays out.
  • Opening Chorus: "Live Like This," which also serves as an "I Want" Song.
  • Person with the Clothing: The Man in the Yellow Suit
  • Philosophical Choice Endings: The core decision of the show: should Winnie drink from the spring and become immortal, or live out a normal human life?
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Hugo, and by extension the Constable.
  • Plucky Girl: Winnie Foster
  • Quarreling Song: In "The Story of the Tucks," Mae, Miles, and Jesse each try to tell their version of the story behind their immortality.
  • Really 700 Years Old: All of the Tucks. Jesse is 102 but looks 17, and Miles is 107 but looks 22. Angus and Mae's ages are unknown, but it can be assumed they are at least 125.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: The Man in the Yellow Suit runs a traveling fair as a front for his search for immortality.
  • Running Gag: Many characters make fun of the Man in the Yellow Suit's outfit.
  • Secret Test: A minor one, played comedically:
    Constable: This being your first missing person's case, I recommend you keep your eyes open and your mouth closed. Shall we practice?
    Hugo: No I think I got it.
    Constable: That was a test, you just failed it.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Winnie's grandmother.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: Winnie follows a toad into the wood, where she meets Jesse and gets herself involved by trying to drink from the spring.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The ensemble serves this purpose.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "You Can't Trust a Man" sung by the Constable and Hugo, in which they cite reasons he's Obviously Evil.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Tuck Everlasting: The Musical
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Tucks feel this way about immortality. Jesse seems to avert this at first, but it's revealed that even he feels like he's "doing a life sentence”.
  • Work Info Title: Three songs titles begin with "The Story of _____." See Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.

Alternative Title(s): Tuck Everlasting The Musical


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