By Sandi Durell
In the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, the chaotic daily life of rushing from place to place, person to person – – is it possible to meet anyone and really connect? Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days presents a mélange of mayhem, tears, truth and humor as four young people seek sanity trying to realize their hopes and dreams, and find the real Big Picture of life in the Keen Company’s revival of this musical. This is almost reminiscent of the boy meets girl, falls in love old tale but much more relatable in this 21st Century intelligent compelling musical.
Meet Claire (Whitney Bashor) doing the best she can in a somewhat new relationship with Jason (Mark delaCruz), having lost her former partner in a tragic accident, finding trouble committing to him, but moving in together. Claire’s life is filled with memories as she and Jason unpack boxes – “I’m Trying” – their lives a nostalgic, anxiety driven mess.
A confused and upset Deb (Sarah Lynn Marion) is on the phone with her Professor desperate to get a handle on her thesis (“Dear Professor Thompson/Life Story”) when she realizes she’s left it somewhere . . . maybe on the train? And there’s Warren (Kyle Sherman), a young gay aspiring artist who seems to have his head in the clouds but turns out to be the eventual answer in “Life Story” when he finds her notebook, offering so much more poignancy in “Sort-Of-Fairy Tale.”
Four young people whose lives spin round and round interconnect in this operetta styled musical as individual lives unfold finding themselves in the same place at the same time – “Saturday at the Met” in a wonderful mashup of counterpoint singing, the place where Deb meets Warren to retrieve her lost notebook and Claire and Jason find themselves sadly drawing further apart, even when it comes to choosing whether to bring a bottle of red or white wine to dinner with friends.
Deb’s tension knows no limits until she finds “Calm” in Warren’s sad descriptions of his own frustrations as their friendship grows. The foursome once again come together in the same place – “Rooftop Duet/Falling” – but never interact in this city of anonymity. The tearjerker moment is Whitney Bashor’s “I’ll Be Here” – making a final commitment.
The story songs are filled with humor, passion, joy, hope, sadness and fury and readily understandable in this vignette styled production, smartly directed by Jonathan Silverstein. The simply styled 2 level step design set by Steven Kemp allows for the band (musically directed by John Bell) to be somewhat visible behind a scrim-styled enclosure.
The ensemble is outstanding, the message not new but a reminder and wake up call of what’s really important – the Ordinary Days!
Ordinary Days – Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42 Street, NYC www.keencompany.org Runs 90 minutes, no intermission thru November 17.