Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Extraordinary Ordinary

Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel have a lot to be proud of.  After only two years in development and a short rehearsal period, I had the privilege of attending the opening night of their delightful new tuner, The Extraordinary Ordinary, at the Clurman Theatre on West 42nd Street.

It's a slice of life story with 5 thirty-something friends now all living in New York City, growing older and experiencing life - each exploring, doubting, loving, and learning about themselves along the way. Karen (Courtney Balan) is the neurotic, list-making, perennially single glue who hosts monthly Friday night and holiday get-togethers for the group.  She's got a BFF, Sam (Kristoffer Cusick), another longtime friend from college - fabulously gay and usually bouncing from one dead-end relationship to another who is now dating Joey (Jonathan Parkey), a much younger, wise beyond his years college boy.  Bev (Kelly McCormick) and Zach (Patrick Oliver Jones) are the classic successful, driven married couple who have started to grow apart. Last, but certainly note least, there's the zany, off-beat, and quirky Kate (Pamela Bob) who needs, among other things, to figure out if her boyfriend, Stu, is a keeper or not.

This just might be one of the most delightful show I've seen in a long time - the contemporary story doesn't go overboard with the stereotypes, the relationships and the problems seem real, and most importantly, the cast has some genuine chemistry which is intelligently harnessed with some excellent direction by Chip Klose.  Of course, it also helps when the songs never fail to delight and entertain the entire evening.  Through life's little mishaps, personal self-doubts, afternoons in the park doing crossword puzzles, 3-way phone calls, relationship issues, and the many evenings at Bev's apartment, the message of true friendship and love shines brightly throughout the show.

Call, text, or email your BFF today and take them out to see this upbeat, entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable musical before it's too late - it only runs thru December 18th.