The Notebook’s pre-Broadway run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. It is a musing on why a story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back a decade later only to eventually lose her again to dementia also resonates with queer audiences.On its face, The Notebook — the first of countless Nicholas Sparks’ bestsellers, adapted into a 2004 movie that launched both Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams into stardom — is cishet in every way.
But look deeper, and The Notebook, now an emotionally vibrant stage musical intelligently penned by playwright and screenwriter Bekah Brunstetter and featuring music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson, is chock-full of the yearning that makes up many an LGBTQ+ life.The Notebook begins with an older version of Noah (performed by understudy Jerome Harmann Hardeman on opening night) reflecting on the nature of time.
He doesn’t have much left, living in a nursing home and nearly crippled by a knee injury from a long-ago war wound. Allie (Maryann Plunkett), his beloved wife and soul mate, keeps Noah going.
She also resides in assisted living but often doesn’t recognize him and is prone to fits of anxiety and rage.Undeterred, Noah reads to her from a notebook that contains their love story: first, an opposites-attract summer romance between two teens (John Cardoza and Jordan Tyson play the youngest incarnations).