Monday, February 13, 2023

The Mad Ones—Young Professionals Company—NW Portland

Time Is Fleeting

    The Y/P Company of the Oregon Children’s Theatre presents this musical by Kait Kerrigan and directed by Andrea White (recommended for folks 14 and up).  It is playing at the CoHo Theatre space, 2257 NW Raleigh St., through Feb.26th (only street parking, so plan your time accordingly).  For more information on tickets and Covid restrictions, go to their website at or call 503-228-9571.

    We all need a little madness in our lives to keep us sane (espoused by Zorba, The Greek)!  Although the title for this show comes from the “Beat Generation”  of the 50’s, via Jack Kerouac’s,  On the Road book with his bud, Neil Cassidy (note there is a good film about this era called, Young Cassidy, with Rod Taylor as the title character and Nick Nolte as Kerouac.  Other good films about Youth are, Rebel Without a Cause and Eighth Grade).  But “madness,” aka Youth, is indeed, fleeting as high school senior, Sam (Ava Horton) is about to find out.

    She is also the Every-Woman of this tale.  Does it relate to me and resonate with the audience…oh, my, Yes!  Amazingly, it covers all the bases of the teen years, leading up to “the dark at the top of the stairs,” adulthood.  Her mother, Beverly (Kerie Darner), wants her to go to an ivy-league college and becomes someone important.  Her best friend, Kelly (Leah Wick), wants her to just run away and explore the world with her.  And her boyfriend, Adam (Sidra Cohen-Mallon) wants her to just be with him.

    All these forces, coupled with one’s own growing pains and teenage angst, seem to be puling he apart.  And what does Sam want…probably, all of the above, as it would make others happy…but her hopes and dreams (unrealized, unarticulated, unimagined) would be mingled with the dust, if she followed that course.  And her purpose in life, gone with the wind.  And how does this concern us?  It Is Us!

     will not ruin the story by giving away incidents, but know that each of you will recognized yourself within it.  It is told in music and  song (unfortunately, a list of them was not in the program, but the anthem that stands out is “Freedom”) which beautifully mirrors the story.  Credit must be also given to the musical director, Addison De Santis, choreographer, Eri Zinke and set designer, Samie Jo Pfeifer, who all lend to the simple majesty of the story.  And many kudos to the writer, Kerrigan, who bring it all home for me, and the director, White, who has led this intrepid team with dignity and insight.

    And the cast—Wow—not a false note in them.  Cohen-Mallon, the epitome of the boy-next-door, who just want to do the right thing; Darner, as the parent, who truly wants her daughter to be happy; Wick, as the flighty best friend, terrific in voice and depth of character; and Horton, a star in the making (I reviewed her as Anna in, Frozen, Jr., with the East Side Theater, and she was great there, too) blances the unenviable task of making her an individual, and yet universal, and rides that tightrope perfectly, both in song and acting.  Bravo to all the fine, young artists and to Y/P under the tutelage of the multi-talented, Dani Baldwin!

     I highly recommend this production.  If you do choose to see it, tell them Dennis sent you.





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