Review: Street Theater Company's ORDINARY DAYS Ushers In New Barbershop Theatre Residency in Extraordinary Ways

Leslie Marberry and Randy Craft's superb four-member cast bring show to vivid life

Kesha Drops 'GAG ORDER' Tour Dates
Grant Weathington, Sachiko Nicholson, Alan Smith and Ang Madaline-Johnson.
- photos by Andrw Morton

Street Theatre Company makes its long awaited and eagerly anticipated debut as a resident company at Nashville's Barbershop Theatre with its thoroughly entertaining production of Ordinary Days, the sung-through 2008-2009 work with music and lyrics by Adam Gwon.

Over the course of a scant 90 minutes playing time, Gwon's musical offers a warmly engaging consideration of the lives of four "ordinary" New Yorkers, whose lives are interconnected in unexpected, yet life-altering, ways. And while their days are indeed ordinary - picking up coffee at Starbucks, shopping for the right bottle of wine to take to a friend's dinner party, making a living to survive and sharing intimacies with loved ones - they are studded with moments of grace and joy, loss and grief. Perhaps more succinctly, they are reflective of every individual's days, where the ordinary is made special by the very uniqueness of one's perspective.

Director Leslie Marberry, music director Randy Craft and their stellar four-person cast bring Gwon's intriguing characters to life with passion and a palpable sense of style that contributes to the New York vibe that pervades the intimate confines of the Barbershop Theatre.

Marberry and her design team (which includes set designer Shane Lowery, lighting designer Kristen DuBois, sound designer Cameron Cleland and costume designer Susie Konstans) very smartly utilize the intimacy of the Barbershop Theatre playing space to their own advantage, providing a serviceable set for the actors upon which to play and encouraging the audience to use their imaginations. With just some small platforms and a bench, backed by simple flats that evoke skyscrapers and with projections that provide visual images to define a time or a place, the audience is drawn into the action, immersed in the lives of Warren, Deb, Jason and Claire. The play's action could be presented in a very static fashion by lesser talents, but STC's coterie of artists ensure that the small and intimate nature of the work is made larger and more significant because of the clever staging in this winning production.

Kesha Drops 'GAG ORDER' Tour Dates
Grant Weathington as Warren in STC's production
of Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days.

Warren, played with sweet charm and startling confidence by Grant Weathington (whom we've been impressed by in productions at Belmont University Musical Theatre), is a struggling artist (who works as an assistant of sorts to a more-established artist who is in jail for some artistic transgression, it seems) whose optimistic view of life sustains his sense of joy in the face of personal rejection and universal travails. He accidentally meets the acerbic and sardonic graduate student Deb (brought to vivid life by Belmont University freshman Sachiko Nicholson) when he finds a notebook that contains her musings on the life of Virginia Woolf for her graduate thesis.

Meanwhile Jason (Street Theatre favorite Alan Smith delivers yet another memorable performance) is moving in with his girlfriend Claire (played by Ang Madaline-Johnson, the impact of whose heartrending performance lingers long after the final curtain), leading to typical first-time-living-together issues - why does she keep a box filled with memories they don't have room for in their cramped apartment? - underscored by moments of discovery amid the reveal of things heretofore unknown.

As Warren, Deb, Jason and Claire go about their typical days, the normal orbit of their daily movements are sometimes thrown-off by the inexplicable randomness and unexpected moments that render them atypical. As we get to know each of the characters via Gwon's lovely, enigmatic musical score - his lyrics are descriptive, yet unfettered; his music is evocative, yet somehow unique - we are able to identify with them and to glean more details about their stories than available during the first blush of recognition. Music director Randy Craft performs the score, putting his considerable talents and keyboard virtuosity on full display.

Ordinary Days is a brilliant choice for Street Theatre Company as the company begins its residency at The Barbershop Theatre, and it is just another in a long list of memorable musical productions from the company over the past years. Whether it's the first time you've seen a Street Theatre Company show (at the performance reviewed, most of the people around me mentioned it was their first time) or it serves as a reintroduction of sorts, there's extraordinary work being done. Don't miss it!

Ordinary Days. Music and lyrics by Adam Gwon. Directed by Leslie Marberry. Musical direction by Randy Craft. Stage managed by Breanna Theobald. Presented by Street Theatre Company, at The Barbershop Theatre, 4003 Indiana Street, Nashville. Through April 1. Running time: 90 minutes (with no intermission). For tickets, go to


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