Wow. Wow. Wow.
Sitting down to a musical that features a cast of 11 young, freshly graduated teenagers, I was worried that I had stumbled upon the 8th year reunion of the 2007 Jason Robert Brown flop “13 The Musical,” But I had actually been lucky enough to see 21st Century Theatrical Genius at work.
One Day: The Musical with music, book, and lyrics by Michael Sottile and under the direction of both he and Ray Leeper, shines through the new era of modern musical theatre, having just opened at the 3LD Art and Technology Center. This “topical Godspell” of sorts uses actually words from diary’s/notebooks/letters of teenagers dealing with bullying, depression, anxiety, abuse, eating disorders, and homophobia, and creates musical moments of theatrical transcendence to immerse an audience fully into the mind and issues of today’s youth.
The ultimate fear of a piece like this is that the audience will feel as if they have been hit over the head with a load of brinks, and immediately “check out” of the performances. However, the masterful young performers mount this material with so much respect, energy, skill, and talent that you cannot help but to be invested in their lives.
THE DIRECTION: was brilliant. It crafted needed moments of musical expression that explored every aspect of this text.
THE CHOREOGRAPHY: was divine. It showcased talent as well as told a beautiful story.
THE MUSIC: fantastic. Toe-tapping youthful joy.
THE SET/COSTUMES: just enough for perfection.
THE PROJECTIONS: The finest work in projections to ever grace the NYC Theatre Scene… You heard that right. BRAVO.
THE LIGHTING DESIGN: alive and gorgeous.
As for the performances, these voices are the finest you can hear in a show right now in New York. These kids can SANG. Don’t let their talent in the vocal aspect fool you; they have solid acting chops and a beautiful command over their dance.
Shining performances from this fantastic cast were Austin Scott, who took on a beautiful and challenging role with respect and grace. (NOTE: The characters don’t have names.) Ben Shuman’s voice is killer. It is well paired with captivating stage-presence. Aliya Stuart is not only a beauty on stage, but her dancing and singing can bring tears due to its allure. Nyseli Vega is a text-goddess. She brings to life slam poetry in this show that changes the temperature in the room. All of her fine work is delightfully upstaged by her voice that is best descibed as a mix between Beyonce and Jesus (close to a Stepbrother’s reference.) I kid you not, this girl has the belting power that can wax you eyebrows, and riffs that can make you see God.
Lastly, Honey Ribar establishes herself as one of the finest performers of her age group. YouTube her now. This girl is going places– and by places, I mean Broadway. She has a comedic moment in the show that is a highlight of the evening, not to mention her heartfelt performances in other moments of the show. She moves with great beauty and presence, and has a voice that is golden. She is a rising Broadway star and I’m glad I caught this performance. BRAVO, you can sing my music any day.
In closing, go see this important and beautiful work and if you leave unimpressed, you’re wrong. This is your chance to be in the presence of the most talented people you’re ever to see. RUN to One Day: The Musical, and let this potent piece change your theatrical mind and your human heart.
One Day: The Musical – Directed by Michael Sottile & Ray Lepper.
WITH Brenna Bloom, Chase O’Donnell, Marco Ramos, Honey Ribar, Arron Scheff, Austin Scott, Ben Shuman, Andy Spencer, Aliya Stuart, Nyseli Vega, Charlotte Mary Wen.
Choreographed by Ray Leeper. Music Direction by Keith Harrison. Scenic Design by Ellen Rousseau. Costumes by Shane Ballard. Lighting by Jason Lyons. Sound Design by Drew Levy. Projection Design by Daniel Brodie.
One Day: The Musical is at the 3LD Art and Technology Center at 80 Greenwich St. Runs through March 1. Tickets available at http://www.onedaythemusical.com/