Ordinary Days is a small-scale, four-actor musical in the vein of Jonathan Larson's small-scale, three-actor Tick, Tick...Boom!, which I loved. (Um, hello!, Joey McIntyre in the lead, and he touched my shoulder afterward! Shut up!)
I was resistant to Days at first, thinking, "Oh my god, if I have to watch whiny New York artists sing about their problems for 90 minutes, I'm going to punch myself in the stomach." I'll only watch whiny New York artists sing about their problems if it's Rent or the aforementioned Tick, Tick...Boom! (I am a preteen girl—so what?! Shut up!) I was also thinking, "And if they start 'talk-singing' because composers these days love love love Sondheim, I'm going to punch my theater companion, Louise, in the stomach."
But you know what? The songs are great—catchy music, clever lyrics. The actors do do some of that 'talk-singing' (do you know what I'm talking about?!), but I didn't mind it because Gwon also has a terrific ear for melody. You get the feeling he listens to pop songs too. I mean, don't you sometimes wonder if theater composers listen to anything other than Sondheim CDs? Jesus Christ, that's why people cream their pants over things like the Green Day musical. Pop music is fun.
[Composer Adam Gwon]
You know what else? The New Yorkers in this show have problems, sure, but I wanted to listen. You know why? Gwon's worldview is so heartfelt and refreshingly uncynical (snark needs a break, after all) that you want to root for these characters. The show features parallel plotlines involving one guy pining to make his girlfriend his wife and another guy pining to make a stranger his f@g hag. I never really thought you had to court f@g hags, like it was something you had to do on the level of romance, but, hey, things are tough in New York.
And you know what else? Jesus Christ, the guys in it are hot. And they can sing like it's nobody's business. (So can the women, but you'll have to go to another blog to hear about their hotness.)
I heard through the grapevine that one of the actors, who also has a singing career, has a significant cougar following, (well, he posts shirtless shots of himself on his website, so it was inevitable, I guess), and I realized how great it must be to be able to say, "I have a significant cougar following." I don't know what his aspirations are, but he doesn't need to have any. He has arrived.
As Louise and I left the theater, I did ask her if the women characters sometimes came across as a bit shrewish to her. They did, and we speculated as to why that was so. My guess? When you put that much guy hotness on stage, it creates a shift in the space-time continuum and it distorts all women who get caught in its crossfire.
Oh, look, cheap bastards, Pay Your Age Nights!
Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon runs through January 24, 2010, at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California.
By the way, I've been to a bunch of shows over the last few months, but I somehow didn't get around to blogging about them and I probably never will. (Oh, the demands of celebrity!) But it occurred to me that I should probably log them here for personal future reference:
- And God Created Great Whales by Rinde Eckert, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
- August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California
- The Conquest of the South Pole by Manfred Karge, The Smith and Martin Company, Los Angeles, California
- F*cking Men by Joe DiPietro, Celebration Theatre, Los Angeles, California
- Grace Kim and the Spiders From Mars by Philip W. Chung, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, Burbank, California
- Po Boy Tango by Kenneth Lin, East West Players, Los Angeles, California
- Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown, Yes and...Productions, Los Angeles, California
- Stop Kiss by Diana Son, Rogue Machine, Los Angeles, California
- Tree by Julie Herbert, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Los Angeles, California