In Play Reviews

Four New Yorkers in a city of eight million souls look just like any other four New Yorkers. Warren (Seth M. Renne) peddles pamphlets with upbeat sayings on a Manhattan street corner. Angry small town girl Deb (Quinlan Fitzgerald) comes to the city for graduate school. Claire (Kailey Rhodes) and Jason (Benjamin Tissell) decide to move in together after dating for a year. How do people connect in the busy-ness that is New York City–where everyone is a dot “in a Monet fairy tale”?

Eric Nordin (piano), Quinlan Fitzgerald, and Seth M. Renne in Ordinary Days at Broadway Rose Theatre. Photo bySam Ortega.

And yet life is about connection. Adam Gwon’s sharp but tender musical¬†Ordinary Days now playing at Broadway Rose Theatre, addresses connection and how people connect. As four characters struggle with their personal histories, uncertainties, and hopes for the future, we are given a sense of the importance of connection and community, and what must be overcome to get there.

Benjamin Tissell and Kailey Rhodes in Ordinary Days. Photo by Sam Ortega.

Everything about this play screams New York City in the best possible way. There is no play book, just Gwon’s music and lyrics–frenetic at times, jazz-inspired, colloquial but sophisticated, and full of savagely smart one-liners. It holds the audience’s attention as it tells the stories of four people finding each other and themselves unfold through any number of quirks, surprises, and clever lyrics.

Isaac Lamb directs Ordinary Days. The spare but elegant set (Emily Wilken) of stairs and monoliths serves the play admirably. Even the piano, a monolith in its own right, is used to dramatic effect. Lighting design by Carl Faber brings the stark set to life. Eric Nordin at the keyboard keeps up the brisk pace of the show.

Ordinary Days continues its run at Broadway Rose’s New Theatre, 12580 SW Grant Avenue, Tigard, OR through October 14.

 

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