Mom Theatre Blogger: ONE DAY: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
What a theatrical thrill to be perched on the edge of your seat, knowing you’re seeing something creatively compelling and memorable.
In a word, this show “rocks” literally — in every sense. Think RENT meets SPRING AWAKENING meets Eve Ensler’s I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE (but with a co-ed cast in this case.)
ONE DAY is a new pop-rock musical from the award-winning producers of Rock of Ages and Heathers: The Musical, playing a limited Off-Broadway engagement at the innovative downtown performance space 3LD Art & Technology Center (80 Greenwich Street, between Rector St. & Edgar St — right near the 1 train.).
Based on true journal entries written by teens spanning two decades, ONE DAY follows the journey of eight teenagers as they face ravaging internal struggles and exhilarating triumphs on the passage to discovering their own truths. Their scribbled anecdotes, poems and short stories are brought to life on stage through a score, book and co-direction by Michael Sottile, choreography and co-direction by Ray Leeper (“So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With The Stars”), and cutting-edge, interactive projection design by Google Grant recipient Andrew Lazarow (I Am Harvey Milk, Brooklynite). The musical began previews Saturday, February 7, 2015, with an opening night of Thursday, February 19, 2015 and is scheduled to run through Sunday, March 1, 2015.
ONE DAY is inspired by Sottile’s 1999 cult-hit musical Inappropriate, for which he wrote the music & lyrics, and co-conceived with Lonnie McNeil. Inappropriate debuted Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles in 1999-2000. McNeil has since passed away, but Sottile continued writing new music (lucky for us!), through an enduring passion for exploring, identifying and recording the pulse of American adolescents in a world where new technologies are constantly transforming every aspect of the social strata.
The ONE DAY cast includes Brenna Bloom, Chase O’Donnell, Marco Ramos, Honey Ribar, Aaron Scheff, Austin Scott, Benjamin Shuman, Andy Spencer, Aliya Stuart, Nyseli Vega and Charlotte Mary Wen. This cast of fresh faces, many new to New York, is hugely talented. All deliver such earnest and raw performances that their emotions are palpable and for some, vividly written on their expressive faces. Each character is named for the actor himself, enabling them to truly “own” their portrayal. Aside from the eight featured players, there are two backup singers and an actress who portrays the edgy DJ, the only one not based on a true portrait, who also serves as the MC setting the stage, literally.
The energy is infectious, and the score is affecting and honest, as it tackles a host of heavy subjects including bulimia, domestic abuse, parental expectations, bullying, sexual awakening, self image, love & loss, pain, loneliness, abortion, adoption and drug usage. The universal theme woven throughout is that we’re all the same essentially, despite our individual inner demons and struggles.
Songs like So Much More Than This are just spine-tinglingly stunning, and bring to mind Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick, Boom, due to its stirring, tender tone. Charlotte Mary Wen (who has a strong angelic voice) and Benjamin Shuman harmonize beautifully and capture the heart of their characters connection. Other standout songs are Real, I Wonder, Dear Dad, Growing Dimmer, The Dream, One Day and Everything You Are. Essentially, this is one of the best scores (and more meaningful lyrics) I have heard in years!
The spoken word, too, speaks volumes: For example — We are all fantasies that collide. Reality is the fist that shatters everything.
Completing the creative team are Lighting Designer Jason Lyons (On The Town, Rock of Ages), Projection Designer Daniel Brodie, Sound Designer Drew Levy (Honeymoon in Vegas), Scenic Designer Ellen Rousseau (The Weight of Water) and Costume Designer Shane Ballard (Madame Infamy), with vocal arrangements by AnnMarie Milazzo (If/Then, Next to Normal) and music direction by Keith Harrison (“The Voice”, “American Idol”).
ONE DAY is produced by Carl Levin, Jamie Bendell, Scott & Marnie Prisand, Bruce Bendell, Sheryl Regan, Tom Ross, Whistling Mario Productions, Scott Benson and Big Block Entertainment.
I’m already keeping my eye out for a show CD that will hopefully be produced one day. No doubt this show will cultivate a strong tribe of followers, as it deserves. Check it out while you can in its current downtown space. I would expect ONE DAY to set it’s sights — deservedly so — on moving to a midtown space and perhaps even Broadway (in a more intimate theatre).