“Days of Wine and Roses”

By Robert Massimi

“Days of Wine and Roses” in its movie form starring Jack Lemon and Lee Remick was more subdued and macabre than this musical version that opened at Studio 54 last night. The story is pretty much the same as the movie version, only we get a more upbeat tempo with the music and it goes anathema, unfortunately with the plot. The plot deals with alcoholism between the two main characters: Kirsten Arnesen (Kelli O’Hara) and Joe Clay (Brian D’Arcy James).

 In this musical, all the actors are very good; the two leads are excellent, but the problem lies with both the direction (Micheal Greif) and the music and lyrics by Adam Guettel; both trip up the book by Craig Lucas. The problem with the direction is that we get two people who are deeply in love with one another and even with that, the show never knows when to stop being silly and to start dealing with these two lovebirds serious problem, which is alcohol. It is not till the very end that we see what damage the booze has done to this couple, even then it never hits home with the audience as hard as it should. In the music we get songs that never really resonate nor keeps our attention for very long. While “Underneath” and “Forgiveness” are the evenings best, many of the other songs are forgettable; and this is with two of the best singers today on Broadway!

  With a pleasing scenic design (Lizzie Clachan), lighting by Ben Stanton and well appointed costumes by Dede Ayite and sound by Kai Harada all work well as does the Co choreography. What makes this musical less memorable is how the music runs in the opposite direction of the book.And even where the book stands out against the backdrop of the shows poor direction, it too fails us at parts.

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