Monday, April 28, 2008

Glory Days in the wink of young boys' eyes...

Glory Days is the new musical that is currently in previews at Circle in the Square. It revolves around four guys, all best friends in high school, who after completing their freshman year of college, reunite after a year and reflect on their glory days of high school and come to terms with the inevitable changes that have occurred during that time apart from each other.

The show opened in January at The Signature Theatre to much acclaim and has been set on the fast track to get to Broadway. Previews started last week. It opens May 6th. Just barely in time for the Tony eligibility cut off date, May 7th.

But I wonder if it'll stay open long enough to find out if it'll be nominated.

Okay, that's harsh. But really I do wonder. And not because it's a bad show. It's actually quite competent. But I wonder if Broadway audiences will come out for this type of show.

In the show we meet Will who serves as our narrator of sorts, and are introduced to his best friends from high school. Will, played by Steven Booth with a sort of Michael Cera style charm, has planned to pull a prank on the grounds of their high school and enlists his friends to help on the night of their reunion. Through the course of the evening we find out exactly how far apart these friends have grown the past year and the boundaries of their friendships.

The show can be a bit patronizing in it's attempts to speak for it's generation (the show is subtitled "a new American musical") There is a scene about use of the word "totes" that is at once amusing to me as a twenty something and disgusting to me as a twenty something. There is even a myspace joke. But the fact that the show is written by 23 year olds is what makes it tolerable. I would much rather have a peer be writing this kind of stuff then say, Jerry Herman.

But it does have it's highlights. The song "Generation Apathy" talks about, well, the general apathy that seems to be so prevalent in the current youth of America in an interesting way. And the show is at it's best during "The Good Old Glory Type Days" where the boys all reflect on their great high school moments.

What's odd though all this, is that the deep personal reflection is happening after only a years time, and maybe it's appropriate for a generation that can reflect on last week like it was eons ago, but towards the end of the play when I look at the boys on stage, I still see boys, not men. They just finished their freshmen year of college. They are going to continue to change and grow and hopefully realize that all the drama that they just put themselves through on this one night was not worth it in the larger scheme of things.

The show has a great pop/rock score by 23 year old new comer Nick Blaemire. And it is performed with great energy and enthusiasm by the four person male cast, with Andrew C Call as Andy and Booth as stand outs.

But as much as it pains me to say it, I don't think it's going to make it. Not on Broadway. And as much as I'm all for breaking down the barriers of commercial theatre, you have to ask yourself, is it better to try to make it and fail, or to maybe take the show off-Broadway and have a much longer run and have more people see it. The show seems too small in scope. The audience for it is too small. There are only so many young people who have recently gone through a transitional phase in their lives. Why the show didn't open off-Broadway where I know it would find a very welcoming long run, I don't know.

That said, a personal favorite of mine, Passing Strange, currently playing at the Belasco, is an example of the kind of show that doesn't seem like it belongs on Broadway, and while it's not selling out, it's hanging in there (probably for the Tony's. Which it will win multiple I'm sure) so what do I know?!

I feel like Glory Days is a show that could speak to a lot of people. It certainly resonated with me. Being a recent college grad I know how weird and wonderful it can be to reconnect with people from high school or college, and it seems like suddenly they're not the same person anymore (or is it you that changed?) It's a really interesting idea to try and capture and musicalize. I just feel like it doesn't transfer to larger then life-ness of a Broadway house. I wish it luck though. I hope it's able to run for a long time. I hope it makes a recording. I hope it lasts long enough to look back on it's own glory years on Broadway, and not just days. But like the characters in the show realize, glory days aren't meant to last.


Advantageous Stride said...

Fun fact: Steven Booth graduated from UNLV. I never met him though, but I did see him in "Avenue Q" when it was still playing here in Vegas. How random is that?!?

Alex! said...

hahaha... is there anyone you don't know Oscar?!?