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A CurtainUp Review
Rich See's Review of Glory Day's premiere run in DC
Signature Theatre has unveiled Glory Day, a world premiere musical written by two DC area natives—- Nick Blaemire and James Gardiner. It's an energetic production with some great voices, several good songs and a huge amount of potential; unfortunately the plot line is weak for a musical being unveiled on Signature's mainstage.
The show covers the lives of four friends one year after graduating high school. They meet on their old school's football field at midnight one evening to reconnect after being away at college and to plan a practical joke on their former jock classmates at a charity football game the next afternoon. Will, the "the glue" that holds the guys together wants to douse the fellows who made their high school years miserable by resetting the fields sprinkler system. To do this he has begun dating a former classmate -- Horse Face Hanna. Skip is the activist who is more interested in social change and leaving their hometown than getting even, while Andy, the none-too-bright-one, has blossomed into a partying frat dude ready to make a good time at a moment's notice. Jack fills out the foursome as the quiet one who has had the greatest personal change over the past year.
It's at the fourth song, "Open Road," (one of the show's best) that Jack reveals he is gay. This revelation sets up the scene for turmoil and trauma as Andy is hurt that Jack lied to them all these years about his sexuality, while Will wants everyone to get along so that his practical joke can be carried off and Skip simply feels that they should hang out and talk about where they are now in their lives. As the story progresses, more anger is unleashed when Jack (in an unexplained move) makes a pass at Will who does not resist (also unexplained), then Andy insults Jack (the insightful "Other Human Beings"), after which it's revealed that Will broke a trust to Andy by telling Jack something that Andy had said about him. In the end, Will (now alone on the football field) realizes that he must move on, as his friends have done, and start a new chapter in his life (the finale "My Next Story").
Director Eric Schaeffer has pulled together a high energy production which flows along well considering there is no intermission. He's filled the stage with a great deal of action to keep you watching -- dancing, wrestling and flashing lights. And the show has several additional good numbers not already mentioned -- "Boys" and "Things Are Different." James Kronzer's stage is a simple green field with bleachers on it, while Mark Lanks' lighting is impressive in its blazing high voltage flashes at the ends of various songs.
The cast has several vocal standouts, which help bring individuality to some of the songs which have a very similar sound. Steven Booth's Will is a typical nerdy guy, while Andrew C. Call plays the stereotypical frat boy to perfection. Adam Halpin's Skip immediately comes across as the intellectual. And Jesse JP Johnson's Jack only really comes alive when singing his song and during the fight scene with Andy. (Which is not Mr. Johnson's fault, but simply how the script reads.) However, each time he sings he captures your attention.
Glory Days holds an interesting idea to journey into the hearts and minds of four young men about to enter the world. In its present produced form, it has a few weak points, but it shows a huge amount of potential for its two young playwrights (both of whom are twenty-three years old). If you would like to see a show in its infancy, then this is the time to head out to Arlington and check out what might become the next big thing in New York City.
Reviewed by Rich see on January 1, 2008, at the Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington VA where it ran through 2/17/08
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
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Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook