Music and Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Book by Laura Eason
Musical Direction by Doug Peck
Choreographed by Tommy Rapley
Directed by Michael Halberstam
At Writers Theatre, Glencoe
Gorgeous romantic musical features soaring melodies with witty lyrics
The talented Alan Schmuckler was inspired by Charles Mee’s Summertime as a source for inspiration for a new musical. He teamed up with Laura Eason to create an original new chamber musical, Days Like Today. The result is a melodic wonderfully sung quite romantic musical. This beautiful work reminds me of A Little Night Music in tone, wit and atmosphere. This is a quirky, 21st Century love story on several levels. Days Like Today explores the difficulty in sustaining a romantic relationships.
Tessa (the stunning Emily Berman) get jilted on her wedding day by the indecisive Arnaud (Jarrod Zimmerman). She vows that she is through with love as she mopes around the family’s vacation home.
Her quirky parents, father, Frank (Jonathan Weir) is a gay man who did father Tessa with his wife Maria (Susie McMonagie). Frank is tangled with his younger lover, Edmund (Stephen Schelhardt) who wants to marry Frank and have him to himself. Frank loves Edmund but still wants to have his special relationship with Maria and his daughter.
Maria’s boyfriend, Francois (Jeff Parker) is a sexy man who avoids committing to anyone thus straining his relationship with Maria.
As the two couples meet at the vacation home, tensions arise as Frank and Maria each deal with their unique love relationships as well as helping Tessa get over her rejection on her wedding day.
Things start to look up for Tessa when James (Will Mobley) arrives with a pizza after observing Tessa at his restaurant. For the charming. love-struck James, Tessa is his dream love. Tessa is cold to him at first.
Schmuckler marvelously weaves his hauntingly melodic music upon his smart, witty and often poignant lyrics that presents each character’s emotional quirks. The voices were splendid and the multi-part harmonies were soaring. The arrangements by Doug Peck deftly played by Austin Cook and his seven member chamber orchestra created as marvelous sound that underscored and enhanced the romantic atmosphere of the piece.
Laura Eason’s book is a clever, unsentimental, and plausible story that deals with how, as we search for love, that often we must get out of our own way in order to find happiness. Schmuckler and Eason are a potent team that have produced a charming, romantic, and utterly enjoyable new musical. Days Like Today is a major new work that will have a terrific future in regional theatre. It works best in an intimate venue like Writers Theatre.
Days Like Today is an art piece that has enough charm, sophistication containing a wonderful score that will leave audiences satisfied and entertained as they empathize with the honest characters in their struggle to find love. We love their journey.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: May 22, 2014
For more info checkout the Days Like Today page at theatreinchicago.com
At Writers Theatre, 321 Park Ave., Glencoe, IL, call 847-242-6000, tickets $35 – $75, Tues at 7:30, Wed at 7:30 (with select 2 pm matinees), Thurs & Fri at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through July 13, 2104