It is 1996 and Paradox Valley, a town in Colorado, is on the decline. This is as a result of the town’s Uranium mine being closed in the 80s. Wet Glitter is a musical which followers five characters hiding from the world as they deal with love, abandonment, and a small dog which was saved by a piece of Uranium after falling from a cliff onto it. Through the musical the characters discuss politics and culture using flashes back to 1969 through the early ‘70s. There is also a scheme by a big company to sell the Uranium for cash.
Ash Law Edwards plays Sam Adams, a drunk who has nothing really going for him. His love, Mom (Devin Dunne Cannon) abandoned him, citing their relationship as one with no flow. The only person Sam feels he has is his daughter, Adeline (Keilly McQuail) who returns to her home town. It is unclear what Sam truly wants in life and his small transformations/changes of mind seem too abrupt without real explanation. Still, Edwards’ wonderful singing voice adds some enjoyment to his presence. Cannon’s voice does the same for her character who seems unneeded.
Adeline (Keilly McQuail) is a care free, eccentric girl who seems to go wherever the wind blows. She takes up interest in her “uncle” John Durst’s (Michael Salinas) quest to study and protect the area where he saw Uranium save his dog’s life. McQuail has a certain charm which is sure to make her a crowd favorite. Like the most of the other characters, her wants are also unclear.
Salinas is able to effortlessly convey the awkward doctor role and Robert Tunstall does his best playing J Buchanan—another character who is not developed and can be cut. Though Cannon’s voice is one of the strongest in the cast her Mom character is another which can get the boot.
Ruby (Talisa Friedman) is a somewhat famous singer who left the world of performing behind and is currently shacking up with Wyatt Easly (Grant Harrison), a man she knows will never return her love in the way that she wants. Friedman has a certain likable air about her. Her acting and singing skills are worth recognition. At times it feels like she holds back her voice but this could be a direction note.
First off, the premise of this show is a unique and intriguing one. However, it falls flat with delivery. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great moments, a few in the music composition by Julia Weldon and the performances by the actors. Musicians Aleksi Glick, Jacob Sunshine, Titus Tompkins and Brian Barone add to the positives of the show. There are also jokes which go over well.
The hurtle keeping this piece from being one you would want to watch more than once is the script by Lucile Baker Scott. There is just not enough happening. For the most part, we listen to the actors talk. I understand that bringing up political/ cultural topics like the detonation of the atomic bomb are important but they do not really feed into the action which propels the story forward. You could even argue that some of the topics don’t aid the story at all.
The idea of “showing and not telling” is noted to some degree. Those moments seem to be a product of the direction of Stella Powell-Joes and Eddie Prunoske more so than Scott’s writing. I could be wrong but that’s how the piece translates. Powell-Joes and Prunoske’s direction is one of the shows better components. It is apparent that every move was thought about in relation to the script. There is a scene in which the characters all scramble for a box containing Uranium—it is almost a slow motion dance of sorts which is stunning.
There is much work to be done on the show but experiencing it once wouldn’t kill you.
You can watch Wet Glitter at IRT Theater, 154 Christopher St. NYC #3B (third floor).
Performances are June 13, 14, and 15 and June 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 at
All show dates are at 7:30 except Sundays are at 7:00. Tickets are $18.
Wet Glitter: Written by Lucile Baker Scott and directed by Stella Powell-Jones and Eddie Prunoske.
With: Ash Law Edwards (Sam Adams), Keilly McQuail (Adeline), Talisa Friedman (Ruby), Grant Harrison (John Durst), Michael Salinas (Wyatt Easly), Robert Tunstall (J Buchanan), Devin Dunne Cannon (Mom), Ted Limpert and Hailey Wojcik (Collaborators), Brian Barone (Music Direction, Arrangements and Instrumental music), Brittany Crowell (Producer), Sarah Lucie (Associate Manager), Nathan Frieswyk (Production Manager), Tom Kordenbrock (Production Stage Manager), D. Schuyler Burks (Scenic Design), John Wilder (Lighting Design), Andrea Hood (Costume Design), Heather Stanley (Associate Costume Design), Jesse Thomson (Sound Design), Annie Lowery Taylor (Puppet Design), Aleksi Glick/Jacob Sunshine (Guitar I), Percussion (Titus Tompkins), Brian Barone (Guitar II/Keyboard/Conductor).