Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ordinary Days—Broadway Rose—Tigard, OR




       “The Big Picture”

     This charming musical has music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, is directed by Isaac Lamb and music direction and piano by Eric Nordin.  It is playing at their space, 12850 SW Grant Ave. in Tigard.  For more information, go to their site at www.broadwayrose.org or call 503-620-5262.

     We are all interconnected and we all have our stories to tell.  Sometimes full of regrets…sometimes of joy, sometimes both…but we do matter because our stories are stories within other peoples’ stories.  And so, the big picture may not be for the big buck or the fame…but to make a lot of small, positive differences in other folks’ lives.  We all have our roles to play, as the Bard would say, so best make the best of it before “…our little lives are rounded with a sleep.”

     In this production, all four roles are sung throughout, virtually no spoken dialogue and so their songs are the story.  Essentially there are two stories of two pairs of people going on.  There is Deb (Quinland Fitzgerald), a small-town girl moving to the Big Apple to make a Big mark in life in a Big way.  But, instead, ends up in graduate school, still searching for that elusive…something out there. 

     Along the way she meets Warren (Seth M. Renne), who seems to live life vicariously.  He makes leaflets with witty sayings, which he passes out to people on the street, and fronts for an artist who’s in jail and who has a fab apartment that overlooks the whole of the city.  He also collects bits and pieces of people’s lives that have been discarded, like old photos, scraps of notes, and a fateful notebook that will lead him to Deb…and their relationship then evolves.

     Then, there is Jason (Benjamin Tissell), another newbie to the big city, who hooks up with Claire (Kailey Rhodes) and since they both seems to sense an attraction, they move in together.  But attraction alone is only going to last so long, as they both have past histories that will invade their personal spaces.  Also, living together shows up the little differences between people, as to their own personal stuff, as to what they like in entertainment, as to goals, even little things like choices in wine or type of foods they like and friends they have.  So, as they say, the honeymoon phase dwindles in face of cold, hard reality.

     All these lives will connect in a very odd but clever way.  I cannot tell you more without being a spoiler.  But what seems like chaos at first in staging (only a set of stairs building, tower-like, to a piano at the top of it, designer, Emily Wilken), becomes a whole world and because of the lyrics (Gwon), terrific voices (the cast), the amazing piano-man (Nordin), some subtle but clever lighting (Carl Faber) and a very talented director (Lamb), who blends it all, amazing well, into a lovely story of love, loss and life.  Reality is in the “…eye of the beholder” here, and so it is with this world, as simple elements, on the surface, magically become a whole world of connecting and conflicting events.

     I highly recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS