ORDINARY DAYSMusic and Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Lakeside Community Theatre
Directed by – Emily Leekha
Music Director – John Norine Jr.
Set Design – Rustin Rolen, Sarah Key, and Shelly Denning
Lighting Design – Les Deal
Costume and Hair Design – Hope Cox
Property Design – Sarah Key and Shelly Denning
Stage Manager – Elizabeth Cantrell
Morgan Maxey – Claire
Gabriel Ethridge – Jason
Gabie Hocson – Deb
Warren – Anthony J Ortega
Reviewed Performance: 4/27/2019
Reviewed by Carol M. Rice, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
LCT’s tiny black box theatre space is perfect for this intimate musical. The stylized New York set created by scenic designers Rustin Rolen, Sarah Key, and Shelly Denning is creative and functional, providing levels and unique spaces for each of the scenes. Emily Leekha seamlessly directs her four-person cast to use every inch of the small, well-utilized stage, not to mention having pianist Emanuel Smith tucked away and just barely visible (from where I was sitting) through a window as he played. His turning on and off a lamp to start and end the show was a nice touch, too.
In an age where small-scale musicals and even plays are often mic’ed in small spaces, it is so incredibly refreshing to hear singers’ actual voices in a show! The show lends itself well to the single piano accompaniment (well-executed by Smith), and music director John Norine Jr. has done a fine job with his young singers. Only very occasionally was someone a little too quiet or was a note a bit out of range. Norine and Leekha have put together an exceptional ensemble to tell this story.
Anthony J Ortega starts the show, portraying the wide-eyed dreamer, Warren. His character’s innocence and enthusiasm are catching, and his beautiful voice is perfectly suited to his songs, starting with the energetic “One by One by One.” I especially loved watching him “see” the paintings at the Met later on – it was almost as if I could see them, too, because they were so vividly described by his facial expressions. Ortega gives a wonderful, nuanced performance.
Gabriel Ethridge and Morgan Maxey – previously seen in The Firehouse Theatre’s production of The Boyfriend – are once again cast as a couple, only this couple has almost nothing in common with that prior pairing. Whereas The Boyfriend is a silly musical melodrama, Ethridge and Maxey play very real people in Ordinary Days. Their singing styles are necessarily different, as are their acting styles. Even within this show, the range of emotions these two demonstrate throughout is intense. Maxey’s rendition of “I’ll Be Here” was especially moving, and Ethridge’s pain is palpable when his proposal of marriage is shot down.
Gabie Hocson plays the aimless and somewhat angry Deb as a firecracker about to go off...until she is befriended by Warren, when she softens up and becomes a bit more human. Hocson’s strong acting talents are aided by her amazing facial expressions and body language, and her whole physical demeanor is different by the end. Her song “Calm” was a comedic highlight of the show.
Hope Cox’s costume and hair design was spot on, and props by Key and Denning were equally effective. The flying colored papers toward the end were especially striking. The only design element that was lacking was Les Deal’s lighting. Some of the characters were in shadow at times, and there were some odd lighting changes here and there. I understand the limitations of working with such a low ceiling, but some more color might have been nice, too.
One thing missing from the show was the fact that LCT’s program did not include a song list, which would have been nice to have. As it was, to write this review I had to go searching for song titles.
That aside, in recent years, Lakeside Community Theatre has acquired a reputation for putting on excellent small musicals, and Ordinary Days is no exception. It really is as advertised: “ordinary days” in the lives of these four people whose lives intersect in a unique yet simple way...only this is not an ordinary production. This is a show you truly shouldn’t miss.
Lakeside Community Theatre
6303 Main St, The Colony, TX 75056
Runs through May 18
Actual days: Fridays and Saturday at 8:00 pm, except Saturday, May 18, which is at 3:00 pm.
Tickets are $15-20.
For information and to purchase tickets, go to https://www.lctthecolony.com/ or call the box office at (214) 801-4869.