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Review: Isaac Lamb Directs Extraordinary ORDINARY DAYS, at Broadway Rose

Review: Isaac Lamb Directs Extraordinary ORDINARY DAYS, at Broadway Rose

The last time I fell in love with a new musical was exactly two years ago, when Isaac Lamb directed FLY BY NIGHT at Broadway Rose. Now, Lamb is back at Broadway Rose directing Adam Gwon's ORDINARY DAYS, an intimate musical about the immense beauty we can find everyday if only we take the time to look. It invites us to slow down, look around, and rediscover our world.

ORDINARY DAYS is about four people going about their lives in New York. Claire and Jason have recently moved in together (or, rather, he's moved into her place), and things aren't going well. Meanwhile, Deb, a high-strung grad student in English lit, meets Warren, a low-key art appreciator who spends his days handing out flyers containing inspirational quotes, when he finds her dissertation notes on the sidewalk. So, you've got two people who love each other but are struggling to connect, and two people who meet for the first time and make an unexpected connection.

The story is told in a series of musical vignettes, mostly solos and a few duets. Even though the only instrument is a piano (played expertly by musical director Eric Nordin), Gwon's music is lush and full, and the lyrics are funny, playful, heart-wrenching and, above all, true.

I will admit that I was primed to like ORDINARY DAYS because I always enjoy watching Kailey Rhodes and Benjamin Tissell, who play Claire and Jason. They were both excellent as expected, especially Rhodes, who has a knack for nuance and can say more with a single expression than I can in 500 words. What I didn't expect was to be absolutely blown away by Quinlan Fitzgerald (Deb) and Seth M. Renne (Warren). Fitzgerald's song interpretation is outstanding (as is her comic timing), and Renne's performance an antidote to jadedness.

ORDINARY DAYS is a small musical -- four people, not much dialogue, a single piano, a sparse set -- but it's precisely this simplicity that allows the big picture to emerge. And that picture is extraordinary.

ORDINARY DAYS runs through October 14. I highly recommend you see it -- probably more than once -- and take a pocketful of tissues. More details and tickets here.

Photo credit: Sam Ortega

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