Lora Hogan > Uncategorized  > Must See: War Horse

Must See: War Horse

As some of you know (and some of you are about to find out), I was a theater girl.

Meaning: I was a theater major in College, studied Acting at the American Conservatory Theater and Atlantic Acting School, have been in professional theatrical productions, been on television shows, written plays, and can sing and dance.

But I semi-retired.

And then I went to theater yesterday.

War Horse at the Straz Center in Tampa Bay, to be specific.

As an evening rain began to fall along the River Walk, I entered the Straz. I always get excited before shows, even when I am just in the audience. But this time, my excitement became more than the average audience member. I stopped in astonishment. I looked at posted cast list. A grin began to form and spread from ear to ear.

My friend was in the show!!

A friend I went to acting school with in San Francisco seven years ago.
A friend I hadn’t seen since I lived in New York City, circa 2008.
A friend who was starting to live his dream.

How awesome is that?

I knew at that moment, I was bound to like the show. And I know I would have liked the show regardless–even if my friend had not done a fantastic job! (Though that definitely helped!)

War Horse is the play by Michael Morpugo, adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford. You may have heard of it because it won five Tony Awards in 2011–or because a certain Stephen Spielberg recently made it into a motion picture.

With song, advanced choreography, beautiful imagery, puppetry, gunpowder, and, of course, lots of war, War Horse takes the audience on an imaginative journey through the horrors of World War One–all with a non-speaking horse as the main character.

The puppets are, in a word, exquisite. They blend seamlessly into the play so that you do not notice where the horse ends–and the actor underneath begins! The haunting melodies tear at your heart strings and transport you back to 1914-1918; a world so similar and so dramatically distanced from today. As a former history major, I found myself running through the events and details of trench warfare, barbed wire, tear gas, and the strange role of horses in a world gradually being replaced by technology. How can the horses survive the charge when they go headfirst into machine gun fire? How can the horses pass through no man’s land–and remain alive? How can the world find a place for “outdated” transportation in a world of tanks and massive artillery? Can friendship survive the toughest of battles and longest distances? And, lastly, how does one find a place once the fighting is done–and life begins again?

Although questions around World War One–the plays themes of friendship, endurance, and the unforeseen brutality modernized war continue on today. This is a show that makes you think, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and leaves you optimistic for a better future. Friendship and positivity triumph with astonishing beauty. Make a trip to a Straz before Friday, May 5th to see this show. (And, of course, my friend, Private Taylor!)

Image provided by the Straz Center

War Horse plays at the Straz Center through Sunday, May 5th. Recommended for ages ten and up. Be sure to get your tickets at the Straz website. Want more? There’s a short clip available via the Straz’s Broadway video. Find it online here.

War Horse. Now playing at the Straz Center in Tampa.

Live elsewhere? Don’t worry, you can catch War Horse on tour. Upcoming locations include North Carolina, Ft. Lauderdale, Arkansas, and more.

And my take-away? As I congratulated and hugged my long-lost friend at the stage door after the show, I made a promise to myself. I would not let my creativity go to the wayside. Even as I pursue new fitness goals in 2013, I am going to rededicate myself to my own creative goals. That means writing, singing, acting, gallery hopping, and seeing lots of shows. The hardest part of the creative process is the beginning. So I am going to stop delaying and start doing. Here’s to more creativity for the remainder of the year!!

[Disclosure: I was given 2 complimentary tickets to “War Horse”. All opinions are my own.]


  • Jenna {Real Simple Girl}

    May 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Wow! Looks like a great show!! So glad you got to go, and it’s especially neat that your friend was in it!!

  • Jen

    May 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I was dying to see this! Unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I think it’s awesome that it reignited your passion!