Presented by The Opposite of People
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company.
The programme for Ordinary Days was printed on primary colors. It was brief but not succinct. It told us which individuals did what but did not inform us of the performance’s particulars: who was responsible for the production, no venue or contact info, Facebook or email address, dot com or even twitter handle. The Opposite of People remained anonymous on its own materials. This is unhelpful as a memento and/or as a marketing tool.
Ordinary Days is a boutique musical about four people living in NYC, one couple, one set of strangers who become friends, who are drawn together through seemingly random events. In their own ways, they come to a greater appreciation for the beauty in life’s smaller moments.
Gwon’s lyrics and score and much more singable, more approachable than Jason Robert Brown’s. The lyrics are just quirky enough to be character developing. The music is less technically challenging than JRB’s for both the men and women singing it. This is important to note because the male half of the cast would have drowned in JRB’s compositions. The ladies, HollyAnn Marshall and Jackie Theoharis, navigated Gwon’s music with aplomb but the guys, Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia and Bobby Zupkofska struggled. Directors Cara Guappone and Samantha Prindiville did an excellent job balancing the dramatic and musical interpretations.
As actors, the four were on the same level. Theorharis and Zupkofska were well matched. Their characters lived on opposite sides of the emotional spectrum but the actors kept pace. Marshall and Mancinas-Garcia were a believable couple. Their bickering was charismatic.
When you get down to it, Ordinary Days is about four lonely people fighting their loneliness. They’re living in a city crammed with millions and still feel alone. Two of them are a couple and feel like strangers. Gwon’s score effectively keeps our four heroes emotionally separated as they work their ways toward each other. It’s a little alienating for the audience but nothing adults confronting their own issues can’t handle. This was a good production. I hope The Opposite of People does more.