EmptyHanging out with your old high school buddies is a perfectly fun thing to do on a summer night, but it proves a less than engaging subject for a musical in "Glory Days." Premiering earlier this year at Virginia's Signature Theater to great acclaim, the show has moved to Broadway and perhaps bitten off more than it can chew.
Much of the advance publicity has played up the youthfulness of the show's creators, Nick Blaemire (music and lyrics), 23, and James Gardiner (book), 24. But though it's very nice that they have gotten this sort of break at such a young age, the musical's insularity and lack of depth makes it more suited for college auditoriums than the Great White Way.
The 85-minute one-act centers on the reunion one year after graduation of four high school friends on the football field that was the cause of their greatest humiliation (the set design consists of bleacher seats and a bank of stadium lights). Now they plan to play a practical joke on the school in revenge for their having been rejected from the team.
It soon becomes apparent, though, that the four have changed greatly in the year since they've gone their separate ways, with one of them, the sensitive Will (Steven Booth), delivering a personal revelation that threatens to split the group even further apart.
Most of the story, such as it is, is told through the eclectic musical score, which is well sung by the cast (which also includes Andrew C. Call, Adam Halpin and Jesse JP Johnson). A mixture of pop, rock, folk and emotive ballads, the music is the strongest element of the show, with the quartet of performers often delivering strong vocal harmonies.
In the end run, though, the evening doesn't make much of an impact, and it's perplexing to see what made its producers think it was suitable for a Broadway transfer, even if it is housed in one of the district's most intimate theaters. Regional prospects look more promising.
Venue: Circle in the Square, New York (Runs indefinitely).
Presented by John O'Boyle, Ricky Stevens, Richard E. Leopold, Lizzie Leopold, Max Prods. and Broadway Across America, in association with the Signature Theatre
Cast: Steven Booth, Andrew C. Call, Adam Halpin, Jesse JP Johnson.
Music-lyrics: Nick Blaemire. Book: James Gardiner. Director: Eric Schaeffer. Scenic designer: Jim Kronzer. Costume designer: Sasha Ludwig-Seigel. Lighting designer: Mark Lanks. Sound designer: Peter Hylenski