Shadowbox Live at the Columbus Commons May 29th

A Shadowbox Live production of 'Back to the Garden,' which they performed at the opening of Columbus Commons.(Photo: http://www.shadowboxlive.org/)

Music can bring peace and harmony to one generation and common ground to three generations.

Shadowbox Live opened the Columbus Commons downtown with the musical Back to the Garden.

The musical condenses Woodstock Music and Art Fair, a three-day festival that took place in upstate New York in August, 1969, into about two hours.

Katy Psenicka, director of operations for Shadowbox, told WOSU’s Joy Reilly that it made sense to create a musical in memory of Woodstock.

“There’s this built-in story of the Woodstock festival, this amazing moment in time,” Psenicka said. “The music already exists, everybody knows it, it directly applies and appeals to our audience, it appeals to us as performers.”

Psenicka said Back to the Garden is the most successful show Shadowbox has done. Jimmy Mak, Shadowbox’s head writer, agreed.

“We had no idea though that it was gonna kind of take the life that it has taken and touch so many people the way it has,” Mak said. “It’s been pretty phenomenal.”

The show was first presented in 2009, a year that marked the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. This coincidence was a “happy accident,” Mak said.

Psenicka said the show ran for about a year, and last August, Shadowbox performed it in Schiller Park in German Village for an audience of about 4,000. She said three generations came out for the show.

Mak said Woodstock was an unexpected three days of peace and harmony in a time when the world was chaotic. This message, he said, is important today.

“The message of that, that peace is possible even in the most trying of times, I think is a very important message,” Mak said. “And that all came about because of music.”

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