Monday, November 5, 2018

Review of "Ordinary Days"

Ordinary days.  Ordinary lives that resonate with the pulse of New York City and how they can connect in unintended ways, is the unassuming premise behind the four-person musical, Ordinary Days, receiving a highly pleasing revival Off-Broadway through November 17th. 

The quartet of performers--Warren (Kyle Sherman), Deb (Sarah Lynn Marion), Claire (Whitney Bashor), and Jason (Marc delaCruz)—are broken down into two separate narratives.  Warren, a lanky, quixotic dreamer and Deb, an angry, directionless, English Literature graduate student come together via a missing notebook.  Their relationship, very tentative at first, develops into one of understanding and respect.  The other account revolves around Jason, an impulsive and passionate young professional and his charming and accommodating girlfriend, Claire.  The two have just moved in together, which gives a new and potentially unpredictable landscape to their intimacy.  The foursome’s stories intersect for just a fleeting moment near the show’s conclusion, which adds both closure and a new spirit to each person’s lives. 

Adam Gwon’s score is tuneful, buoyant and full of emotion and passion.  The songs of the sung through musical cover a range of feelings from optimism to melancholy to resiliency.  Their sentiments, exhibited through witty and clever lyrics, realistically portray characters that are trying to maneuver and persevere amidst life in the big city.

The cast is entrancing and full of an enthusiastic vibrancy.  They come across with a hopeful feistiness and determination to better their lives as they all sing about the “Big Picture.”

Director Jonathan Silverstein has a firm, but light touch as he guides the production forward.  He keeps the four performers on their toes as they are in constant movement entering and exiting the small Keen Theater stage.  With just a few key props he is successfully able to convey two modest, but engaging storylines that are absorbing and appealing.

Steven C. Kemp’s Set Design is modest, encompassing three large rectangular towers wrapped in a mesh fabric, that simply, but effectively, symbolize the large, impersonal nature of New York City.

Ordinary Days, an admirable production worth seeing in a season of mostly lackluster musicals.

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