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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at Circle in the Square


  A scene from Glory Days

The theater, which expelled The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee after a couple of seasons, graduates high school and goes to college with Glory Days, a first-ever Broadway import from the D.C.-area's Signature Theatre. But the musical, the last to open in a weak season for new tuners, should have been held back.

The composer-lyricist, Nick Blaemire, and book writer James Gardiner are young guys, just 23 years old, and they have chosen as their subject other young guys, a year out of high school but still drawn to the bleachers for a bull session. Within a number or two, you'll be wishing they had just stayed on Facebook and e-chatted with each other. There's Will (Steven Booth), the nominal ringleader, who has a vague need to enact a mild vengeance on the school that did he and his fellow social underachievers wrong. There's Skip (Adam Halpin), the intellectual, with Anne Heche hair (a passably witty observation). There's Andy (Andrew C. Call), the dumb jock, who for some reason hangs out with the other two and with sweet-natured Jack (Jesse JP Johnson), who shares a personal revelation that threatens to destabilize the group. As this is a contemporary musical, you get three guesses as to what this revelation might be, but you will only need one.

This is an intermission-less 90-minute show. And that is a red flag: Tread cautiously around this running time, a seeming relief after a spate of two-act or three-hour shows, as more often than not you are trapped in your seat for a duration that feels endless. Much as I couldn't tell the youthful performers apart an hour after the production (they are personable blanks) the sound-alike songs made no lasting impact on my musical memory banks. Let's crack open the Playbill for a quick refresher. Hmm, My Three Best Friends is the opener. Open Road is the big-revelation one. Generation Apathy pretty much sums up how I was feeling by the time we got to it. Other Human Beings, sung by the estranged Jack and Andy, did register a little. I blame the director, Eric Schaffer, the co-founder of Signature who was at the helm of the pedestrian Sondheim revue Putting it Together, for not putting this one together more engagingly: The actors pretty much bound up a set of risers, sing, emote, then go down again.

Lest you think it might have camp value, know that Glory Days is just plain boring-bad, and not a flop worth collecting in what will likely be a run as long as school recess. But enough. I don't wish to strangle such young talent in its cradle, and with practice and application Blaemire and Gardiner might one day put on a show worthy of a Broadway stage. I give the producers, who should have known that this transfer was a dubious idea, the failing grade.


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