Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Glory Days (The SOB Review)

Glory Days (The SOB Review) – Circle In The Square, New York, NY

*1/2 (out of ****)

Why is youth wasted on the young?

With all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, in Glory Days -- a subpar, threadbare 90-minute performance that dares to call itself a Broadway musical and opened last evening at Rialto's intimate Circle In The Square Theatre -- the answer doesn’t come easy.

But what is clear is that Glory Days comes across as not even quite half-finished, perhaps -- and I’m giving creators James W. Gardiner and Nick Blaemire a huge benefit of the doubt here -- serving as an apt metaphor for the fact that those barely one year out of high school have hardly begun to live, yet are too immature to realize it.

Coming off like a poor man's Altar Boyz -- if only it were half as smart or as tuneful (where is Ken Davenport when we need him?) -- and including two alums from that show's national tour, Glory Days concerns four buddies who reunite after their first year away at college. Although the sexually ambiguous Will (Steven Booth) and the stereotypically dimwitted, muscle-bound Andy (Andrew C. Call) have kept their friendship in high gear (or not) by rooming together at college, they're looking forward to corralling their other pals Skip (Adam Halpin) and Jack (Jesse J.P. Johnson) into a silly scheme to somehow get back at the school that had done them wrong.

While Skip initially tries to be the voice of reason, he quickly acquiesces when reminded of how they never made their high school football team and how "being different" was the initial impetus behind their friendship. However, despite being continually told how "different" they are, the term is never defined.

We seem to be able to rule out what “being different” is not: the prospect that they're all gay, which is where I assumed this was all headed. As it turns out, Jack comes out to his chums via "The Open Road" -- one of the few memorable tunes during the show -- and instead of delving deeper into who the other three characters are, the rest of the heavy-handed plot gets caught up in how well the other three deal with the news. You'd think they were fresh out of the class of '69!

And while they think nothing of derogatorily calling each other "gay," the thoughtless toss off of the three letter "F" word threatens to implode this less than fab four. Rather than resolve the situation, three of our boys walk off, leaving a determined Will to tell "My Next Story."

End of show. Curtain call. Say what?!

What is particularly irritating for anyone over 30 (or possibly even 25) seeing this show is the implicit premise that high school could in any measurable way be deemed the glory days of any sane life. And for the tens of millions of us who were never the “cool kids,” the end of high school could only have been considered liberating and an opportunity to start fresh and make new friends, whether in college or directly in the adult world where anonymity comes much more readily.

Even under the usually reliable direction of DC's wunderkind Eric D. Schaeffer, this is not the type of show that should have so easily or quickly been catapulted directly to the Broadway spotlight from a regional theatre. The show could easily have been mounted by an Off Off-Broadway house and attracted an appropriate youthful audience it's clearly targeting without having the audacity to charge $100 or more per ticket.

Sorry folks, but where's the glory in that?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Opening: Glory Days Hopes For Glory Night (May 6, 2008)
Early Tony Handicapping (March 25, 2008)
No Glory In Crap Shoot (March 24, 2008)
Glory Days Yet To Come This Broadway Season? (March 19, 2008)

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At 07 May, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a shame that Eric Schaffer's Broadway debut is with such a bad show.

At 07 May, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

BB: I agree. This show is not indicative in any way, shape or form of his usually brilliant shaping or pacing as a director. As Eric Grode said, there's nowhere to go but up.


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