To me, an ordinary day means I put on a Coltrane record, pour myself a tall glass of cabernet, and wait for Katie Siegel to call and yell at me about something I haven't done yet (but definitely should have).
For Cabaret Theatre, it’s a musical, apparently. Idk. I’ve never heard of this show before, but I’m assuming it’s a musical because they already put on a play, a sketch show, a showcase, and a revue this semester, so a musical seems the most probable, statistically.
A diligent reporter, I caught one (1) run of Ordinary Days before their opening and attempted to sit down with the director to discuss the show in depth. Below is a transcript of our conversation…
David Novis: Hi, David. Thank you so much for coming today and agreeing to do this interview.
David Novis: My pleasure.
D: So, David, let’s talk about your show, Ordinary Days—
D: Let me just stop you right there, Dave. I don’t feel like it’s my show, y’know? Everybody has gone above and beyond to lend to the vision. It’s been collaborative piece between everybody involved. I only brought so much to the table—everybody else helped make it what it was. The actors brought these characters to life with such a palpable realness; the music directors crafted the music around our actors’ voices to really let them shine; my assistant director, Shameen, found and encouraged the cast to explore the nuanced, yet profound, bits of their characters, as well helping me in staging all along the way; and the stage managers were constantly available, flexible, and eager to assist, so that this process has been an absolute breeze.
D: How polite of you—
D: It isn’t polite, it’s true. I couldn’t have done it without—
D: Can you stop cutting me off? That’s pretty rude.
D: Sorry, it’s just…the way you said polite made it seem, I don’t know, condescending.
D: Well isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black.
D: Excuse me?
D: What? I’m just going based off what I’ve heard…
D: And what is that exactly?
D: Just that you’re a condescending, self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual hipster f—
[David removes his microphone and exits the room. He shouts expletives]
Tbqh honest, I considered not even completing this blog post because of how David behaved. Frankly, I thought he was an awful person who did not deserve this sort of A+ marketing.
However, like he said, his cast and crew put on—what I thought was—an incredible show, and I didn’t want to do them an injustice by not giving the show a proper write-up.
And, so, you’re wondering...what even is this show? And what do the cast and crew do so well that it deserves to overlook David’s presence in the show?
As Nisa Betancourt (Deb) describes, “Ordinary Days is one of those musicals that you can easily relate to any of the characters in some way, shape, or form. It’s a short show that really sends a message, that I feel everyone needs to be told every now and then.”
That message that she relates is what drew me to the show so seriously. The optimism at the core of the production resonated so well with me during times when everything can look otherwise pessimistic (especially if you’re graduating or, like, have read the news lately).
The musical follows four young people in two different relationships, one platonic and one romantic, in New York City as they gain a new perspective on their lives through various moments of fate.
“It’s really true to life. I find myself always using the term ‘serendipity’ when talking about this show because it’s really about the beautiful moments that happen on accident that can really change lives,” says Rejy Drayton (Warren).
While the musical is relatively unknown, it is assuredly not due to a lack of impressiveness. A one-act, sung-through musical (you can bear through it, I swear. It’s a freaking breeze), the show began off-Broadway and has become a staple for commonly minimalist black box theatres, such as Cabaret.
While possibly daunting to some, the actors of Ordinary Days very apparently embraced the show’s style.
“I actually find it much easier to act through the music, it’s got a structure that allows me to connect and really bring out certain phrases without worrying about vocal inflections,” says Rejy.
Rejy, and the rest of the cast, seemingly had no need to worry about vocal inflections, however, as all of their vocal performances were, personally, the show’s highlight. Each actor brought a unique tone and phrasing that allowed each to stand out.
Funny, emotional, and heartwarming (I was emo af by the end), the cast delivers performances that felt universally relatable and filled me with profound empathy for their stories.
Led by Steve Dodrv and Paul Salierno, the music direction was outstanding at drawing out the best from the actors.
As Nisa describes, “I’d really have to say Paul and Steve have been SO SO helpful in this process. I’ve never been completely comfortable with pushing myself beyond my limits with singing, but they managed to help me feel comfortable enough to do so. I feel like I truly have grown vocally since the beginning of the process to now.”
As such, Ordinary Days is everything but, well, ordinary (I made it literally the entire length of this post without an ordinary pun, cut me some slack on this one plz).
It’s a show that’s as beautiful as it is entertaining, or as Paul relates, “It gives me life.”
Ordinary Days runs until Sunday, December 3rd. Tickets are on sale now, and can be found at http://sabo.tix.com/m/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=4785&framed=true&framed=true.
Photos courtesy of John Hennessy.