Monday, April 8, 2013
She&Her "Ordinary Days" review by BobEvans
by She&Her Productions
She and Her Productions scores again with a new musical, Ordinary Days, where a small, intimate cast creates an entertaining musical story with a script mostly sung in the fashion of newer musicals like Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Next to Normal, and more. Gone are the days of the "book" musicals like South Pacific, Sweet Charity, Carousel, and so many more standards.
In this new musical by Adam Gwon, four characters find happiness through daily living and uneventful happenstance. Jason and Claire begin a live-in relationship that continues to evolve, while Warren and Deb meet and discover similar situations in life.
All four characters live in New York City and notice the loneliness and emptiness in his or her life. Nothing is decided. Nothing is complete. Nothing draws them forward. They exist in isolated personal spaces: one life filled with clutter; one life filled with anticipation; one life, seemingly on hold; and one life in limbo while looking for something better. Jason wants commitment while Claire wants to hold on to something from her past. Deb wants bigger and better, yet knows not what she seeks. Warren stands in limbo with no real desire, probably the result of past failures or rejections.
The show runs less than 2 hours complete with intermission and resolution comes, but until the resolution, the audience will not know where the show will turn. Finally, the audience understands Claire's reluctance and reason behind it. Deb finds her own happiness where she least expects it. To say more would give away the story and spoil the surprises.
Four very talented actors bring the show to life. They are: Steven Ansel James, as Warren; Katie Meador, as Deb; John Cleary, as Jason; and Valerie Dykes, as Claire. All possess beautiful, strong voices that allow them to move effortlessly between speech and vocal lyric. Cleary stands out with his facial features that help develop and identify his character. James seems to have the superior vocal range of the two men. As for the women, both deliver really clear vocal performances with drama and feeling. Dykes has the strongest solo in Act II, while Meador provides the lapses of comedy in Act I. All in all, great performances by four well-skilled actors.
As for the direction, Tiffany Garrison Schweigert proves that less is more. She directed the troupe to a very entertaining and believable conclusion. And give lots of credit to the crews for providing a workable set with only a few props that can function and not hinder the story or the actors as they develop their characters. The lighting is simple and appropriate to the mood of the show, and with only four characters, sound becomes even more important. In this case, the sound crew made all dialog and music very crisp and clear. Music comes in the form of an electric piano skillfully stroked by Vicki Kerns.
Ordinary Days is a small scale musical but very worth a view. The simplicity of story, music, set, props, etc are reminiscent of The Fantasticks, the longest running ever musical.