Review: ORDINARY DAYS at NextStop Theatre Company

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Composer and lyricist Adam Gwon's ORDINARY DAYS is a feel-good musical about ordinary people, living ordinary lives, and crossing paths in New York City, in a time roughly our own. After it's premiere Off-West End in 2008, ORDINARY DAYS never made it off Off-Broadway. In a world jam-packed with visionary and innovative musicals (think RENT, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, etc.) squarely devoted to life in New York, ORDINARY DAYS just feels... ordinary.

The plot is simple and comfortingly formulaic. New-ish couple Claire (Sarah Anne Sillers) and Jason (Bobby Libby) navigate the ups and downs of starting a new life together. Meanwhile, grad-student Deb (Anna Phillips-Brown) and professional cat-sitter Warren (Carl Williams) form an unlikely bond. The lives of all four characters eventually intersect.

Gwon's characters are self-deprecating and happy to poke fun at themselves. The cast (with a special shout-out to Phillips-Brown and Williams) are adept comedians and lend much-needed animation to this particular show.

In only 75 minutes, and accompanied by on-stage Keyboardist and Music Director Elisa Rosman, Sillers, Libby, Phillips-Brown, and Williams (very capably) belt out 21 musical numbers in quick succession. The lack of spoken dialogue and clear-cut transitional moments, cause the songs to meld together. ORDINARY DAYS could almost be deemed operatic, save for the lack of high-stakes drama. The tunes are enjoyable, but none are particularly memorable.

Scenic Designer JD Madsen's set lacks whimsy but it is functional; the cast have ample room to move freely and to be creative.

ORDINARY DAYS is low-stakes drama that is intermittently charming but neglects to challenge its audience in any meaningful way. But if you're looking for an easily-digestible theatre experience featuring a charming and watchable cast of characters, ORDINARY DAYS at NextStop Theatre is just the ticket.

Photo Credit: Carl Williams in "Ordinary Days" at NextStop Theatre Company.

Running Time: 75 minutes, no intermission

ORDINARY DAYS plays through March 15th at NextStop Theatre Company located at 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20170. For tickets click here.


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