Kevin T. Baldwin
“Possibly we will not be okay however possibly we’re powerful and we’ll strive anyway.”
WORCESTER – Studio Theater Worcester receives a optimistic prognosis for its staging of the highly effective musical, “Subsequent to Regular,” persevering with a stable model established by the group’s mission assertion to supply the Worcester neighborhood productions of “high-quality theatrical works.”
The musical, with ebook and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, has been lauded as a “darkish,” miserable “and even an” angsty “musical.
It’s none of these issues – though “angsty” does deserve some consideration.
It’s extra an unambiguous musical – a blatant, sincere depiction of a troubled household making an attempt to work its means out of a tangled net of dysfunction, one woven by a foul combination of psychological sickness, distress and medication.
Additionally, if one wished to attempt to put a visual blueprint of a troubled thoughts on stage, it will in all probability look rather a lot just like the set of “Subsequent to Regular.” You are feeling like you’re actually trying on the thoughts of an unsettled particular person or a minimum of how they see their life on a troubled day by troubled day foundation.
Meet the Goodmans: Dan and Diana (portrayed by Brandon Lee and Barbara Kessler) and their teenage daughter, Natalie (Cassie Donegan).
Proper off the bat, it ought to be emphasised that every one three actors give considerate, delicate portrayals of their characters who deal with Diana’s ongoing psychological well being disaster – a disaster linked to a bipolar prognosis and manifesting itself within the human type of the couple’s first son, Gabe (Michael Skrzek).
However in Yorkey’s story, the impression the character of ghostly Gabe offers is one which spans from departed devoted son to devious demon and each cliché in between.
So, is Gabe malevolent spirit or merely the results of overmedicating a malignant situation?
That’s the query the musical appears to need to dance round and definitely does because the present progresses.
Lee offers an astute portrayal of paternal Dan, making an attempt desperately to maintain his household collectively. But the present tends to make him seem extra just like the cruise ship director of the Titanic making an attempt to maintain everyone calm lengthy after the iceberg hit and the dance band drowned.
Kessler and Donegan each are merely (pardon the pun) “electrifying” as mom and daughter and nail each musical second. Donegan, particularly, has a pure comedic aptitude for the character of Natalie and that sometimes tends to go lacking in different portrayals.
Skrzek is completely riveting as Gabe and at any time when he exits the stage, for lengthy moments at a time, the anticipation for his impending “return” is fierce. His rendition of the tune “I am Alive” is very fascinating.
With all its deserves, “Subsequent to Regular” shouldn’t be a present that may attraction to everybody. It’s not a “really feel good” musical and lots of the subplots contained within the present by no means absolutely get resolved.
Nevertheless, that is not the intent, both. The intention is to maintain the dialogue ongoing lengthy after you permit the theater – and that is the place the present and the STW manufacturing in the end succeed.
Within the present’s program, there are a minimum of seven pages dedicated to the topic of bipolar dysfunction, psychological well being statistics, necessary terminology explanations and precious medical sources for anybody who may require them.
The efforts show that that is one space theater that, a minimum of for the aim of the necessary medical subject material contained inside “Subsequent to Regular,” acknowledges a excessive diploma of social duty.
John Wayland Somers’ finely tuned stage course for “Subsequent to Regular” is enhanced by a phenomenally artistic set by Technical Designer David N. Farreh showing to work virtually in good unison.
The blocking decisions by Somers assist drive the present, transferring fluidly from scene to scene, second to second, from starting to finish. Any down time for set redressing was minimal.
Including to the present’s success musically are the efforts by Music Director Kris Layton and the Subsequent to Regular Band.
There was one part of Farreh’s stage (higher stage, stage proper) that had a noticeable illuminating lifeless spot. Anybody singing in that one spot was in close to whole darkness.
Additionally, the band had an inclination to overpower among the particular person performers and, in the beginning of Act Two with the tune “Want I Have been Right here,” all however drowned out all of the actors singing on stage.
“Subsequent to Regular” is intense, visceral musical leisure that succeeds in participating, enlightening, entertaining and informing all who’re lucky sufficient to attend.
The musical is roughly two hours, with one intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theater Critics Affiliation.
‘Subsequent to Regular’
Guide and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Music by Tom Kitt. Directed by John Wayland Somers. Music Course by Kris Layton. Extra Choreography by Kim Bourassa.
Introduced by Studio Theater Worcester, on the Salem Covenant Church, 215 Mountain St., Worcester7: 30 pm June 18, 24, 27; 2 pm June 19 and 26. Tickets, $ 25; studiotheatreworcester.org/tickets
Forged consists of: Barbara Kessler, Brandon Lee, Cassie Donegan, Cristiano Lourenco Jr., Michael Skrzek and Ben Huu.