It’s a pure joy to walk into a theater and not be familiar with a piece and expect very little, only to walk out and feel you have discovered an over-flowing treasure chest of musical talents. What’s also amazing is that there is so much undiscovered, fresh, new and exciting talent in Los Angeles and the one place you can find it is at The Victory Theatre in Burbank with Adam Gwon’s Musical “Ordinary Days” marvelously directed by Angel Creeks.
Originally written for the Pennsylvania Center Stage at Penn State University in 2007 and then having moved on to the Roundabout Theater Company in New York in 2008, this play is making its Los Angeles premiere with some of the most talented performers I have ever seen in a long while with the musical direction by Alby Potts and P. Matthew Park.
The story involves four characters with very different personalities and issues that come to realize for themselves individually what is important in their lives and what is not. It's music non-stop, which is cleverly written by Adam Gwon to weave the emotions, story and compassion right into your heart and occasionally tug at those strings too.
Opening the show and making you excited to be watching this amazing production is the incredible talents of Reggie De Leon as Warren. Warren is a downtrodden-like young dreamer who is feeling a little shallow about himself, is somewhat hurt at the way he is treated by everyone, and yet still maintains a wonderful outlook and perspective on life. Reggie does an amazing characterization that immediately makes you love his sincerity, innocence and compassionate character. Not to mention Reggie has amazing vocal talents in delivering humor and passion through every note he sings. His on stage chemistry with the character Deb is electric! From his opening number of “One By One By One,” to his segment of “Life Story,” to his wonderful contributions to the ensemble numbers like “Big Picture” will have you smiling throughout.
Deb is a busy, confused, temperamental grad student who is moving so fast she is losing perspective on what she wants – or rather, what she thinks she wants. Katie Kitani plays Deb with such energy and clarity you’ll sit there and be thinking I know about 20 people just like her. Katie’s voice is so resonating and beautiful that her emotions, confusion, desires and even her annoyances come shining through. Katie and Reggie just click as completely opposite personalities learn that they have more in common than they do differences. The two are just a pure delight to watch. Watching her perform a frustrating “Don’t Wanna be Here” to her compassionate realization in the song “Calm” along with the heartfelt duets with Reggie like “Dear Professor Thompson/Life Story,” “Sort-Of Fairy Tale” and the amazing closing number of “Beautiful” will simply blow you away!
William Martinez's incredibly melodic and passionate songs will swoon you to understand what his character, Jason, is going through. William has a tall and powerful on stage presence but in certain songs he has an almost passionate and uniquely angelic softness that is amazing to listen to. His on stage interaction with the character of Claire will engage you with every word. Jason really shows his vocal muscle in songs like “The Space Between,” “Favorite Places” and the incredible full company song of “Hundred-Story City.”
Anne Schroeder plays Claire, the young and in love (at least she thought) partner of Jason who really plays her emotions very well. With her wonderful voice, Anne allows the audience into the mind and heart of her character and showcases her singing chops in the songs “Let Things Go,” the passionate “Gotta Get Out,” her compassionate duets with William like “I’m Trying” and “Fine,” along with her amazing personalized solo “I’ll Be Here.”
This was an amazing production with a cast of extremely talented people. A definitely positive perspective of a modern-day snip-it-of-life in everyone’s “Ordinary Days.” There is something for the whole family and it has a nice heartfelt message that will show you beauty can be found everywhere and everything you should need that’s most important in life, is usually right in front of you. Take all your family and friends and check them out at www.VictoryTheatreCentre.com.
Pic 001 – Reggie De Leon and Katie Kitani
Pic 002 – Anne Schroeder and William Martinez