Category Archives: Relephant

Ordinary Days – Online Playbill

In an effort to save paper, the Relephants opted to have a playbill available online, instead of using more paper.

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RELEPHANT THEATRE CO-OP presents

ORDINARY DAYS
Music and Lyrics by ADAM GWON

ORDINARY DAYS takes place in New York City. Right around…. here.

The performance is 80 minutes in length. There is no intermission.

CAST
WARREN Steven Greenfield
CLAIRE Alison MacDonald
DEB Jennie Neumann
JASON Shane Snow

CREATIVE TEAM
Directed by Julie McIsaac
Set and Costume Design by Jessie van Rijn
Sound Design by Steven Greenfield
Musical Direction by Steven Greenfield & Julie McIsaac
Piano Accompaniment by Julie McIsaac

DIRECTOR’S NOTES
I’m a big fan of Adam Gwon. His Ordinary Days is a challenge – a challenge to stage, to sing, to play – but it’s also so much like a perfectly-balanced meal (dessert included). The score is clever, raucous, tender, funny, and heart-wrenching. It’s only 80 minutes, and yet it reveals such a range of colourful, idiosyncratic human behaviour. And it’s a generous tale; Gwon writes lovingly.

To me, he is someone who has taken the time to question why people do the things they do, and he seems well aware of the fact that, unfortunately, we often do more out of fear than we do out of hopefulness. But – here’s the important bit – he seems genuinely charmed by it all. In these songs, I hear a warm grin, a bemused laugh, and I sense the sincere wish for each and every one of us to realize the extraordinary nature of our everyday existence.

For, truly: there are no ordinary days (not when you look closely enough), nor are there ordinary people. I mean, paper cuts us. Here we are – beings who can be sliced by mere sheets – and yet we still manage to live, decade upon decade upon decade. We can experience disaster, loss, heartbreak – and yet still laugh at knock-knock jokes.

Life is okay. Listen for it.
-Julie McIsaac

BIOS OF ARTISTS

http://relephanttheatre.ca/2012/12/28/connect-the-dots-extraordinary-folks-take-on-adam-gwons-ordinary-days/

MORE ON ADAM GWON

Read his bio here. See his handsome mug here.

Want to know why we like him so much? http://relephanttheatre.ca/2012/12/28/the-music-of-ordinary-days/

SONG LIST

1. One By One by One   – Warren
2. Don t Wanna Be Here  - Deb
3. The Space Between  - Jason
4. Let Things Go  - Claire
5. Dear Professor Thompson (Part 1)  - Deb
6. Life Story   – Warren
7. Dear Professor Thompson (Part 2)  - Deb
8. I m Trying  - Jason & Claire
9. Saturday at the Met
10. Favorite Places  - Jason
11. Sort-Of Fairy Tale  - Deb & Warren
12. Fine  – Jason & Claire
13. Big Picture  - Company
14. Hundred-Story City  – Jason, Company
15. Party Interlude  - Claire
16. Calm  - Deb
17. Life Story (reprise)  - Warren
18. Gotta Get Out  - Claire
19. Rooftop Duet / Falling – Deb & Warren, Company
20. I’ll Be Here  - Claire
21. Beautiful  - Deb & Warren

Original Cast Recording available here and here.

Originally Produced in New York City by Roundabout Theatre Company
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Managing Director; Julia C. Levy, Executive Director
as part of Roundabout Underground
at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre

ORDINARY DAYS was presented at the
National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in 2008.
http://www.namt.org.

ORDINARY DAYS was originally produced and performed by
Pennsylvania Centre Stage at Penn State University.

ORDINARY DAYS was first developed by
New York Theatre Barn in New York City in 2007

ORDINARY DAYS is presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals: http://www.rnh.com.

Ordinary Days – A Note from the Director

The Cast and Director of ORDINARY DAYS. Bottom row: Steven Greenfield, Jennie Neumann, Julie McIsaac, Shane Snow, Alison MacDonald

The Cast and Director of ORDINARY DAYS. Bottom row: Steven Greenfield, Jennie Neumann, Julie McIsaac, Shane Snow, Alison MacDonald

So, I’m a fan of Pema Chödrön. Perhaps this is no big surprise. And it’s mostly because she writes things like this: “When we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe.”

And I’m a big fan of Adam Gwon (yet again: not surprising), for similar reasons… His Ordinary Days is a challenge – a challenge to stage, to sing, to play – but it’s also so much like a perfectly-balanced meal (dessert included). The score is clever, raucous, tender, funny, and heart-wrenching. It’s only 80 minutes, and yet it reveals such a range of colourful, idiosyncratic human behaviour. And it’s a generous tale; Gwon writes lovingly. To me, he is someone who has taken the time to question why people do the things they do, and he seems well aware of the fact that, unfortunately, we often do more out of fear than we do out of hopefulness.

But – here’s the important bit – he seems genuinely charmed by it all. In these songs, I hear a warm grin, a bemused laugh, and I sense the sincere wish for each and every one of us to realize the extraordinary nature of our everyday existence. For, truly: there are no ordinary days (not when you look closely enough), nor are there ordinary people. I mean, paper cuts us. Here we are – beings who can be sliced by mere sheets – and yet we still manage to live, decade upon decade upon decade. We can experience disaster, loss, heartbreak – and yet still laugh at knock-knock jokes.

Life is okay. Listen for it.

- Julie McIsaac, Director of ORDINARY DAYS

Don’t be a Grumpy Guss. $5 Preview Tickets. Get ‘em.

See this face?

Grumpy Guss

Grumpy Guss

Yeah. This is you on Friday, January 4 when you wake up and realize that you forgot about Relephant Theatre’s $5 preview for Ordinary Days on Thursday, Jan 3 at 8:0opm.

Seating is limited. Really limited. AND we have tickets for less than a venti Starbucks mochaccino. $5 and you get a gorgeous show.

$5 gets you a seat plop in the middle of New York as we take Adam Gwon’s new musical to soaring heights with four heart-soaring voices, a plucky Yamaha upright being plunked by a punky pianist.

Want in? Go to Brown Paper Tickets and snag your tix for Jan 3 8pm show. Do it now.

If you’re the risky type- wait until the day of. Come to the Carousel Theatre studio at 1411 Cartwright Street on Thursday January 3 between 7-7:45pm and pay $5 cash to get a ticket at the door.

Want more info on the show? Go here…

The Music of Ordinary Days

Ordinary Days creator Adam Gwon. Photo credit: Chris Mueller.

Ordinary Days creator Adam Gwon.
Photo credit: Chris Mueller.

As we often do, we were looking for Relephant’s next project.  There are always scripts and librettos sitting around Relephant’s office (read:  our apartment).  I remember getting a text from Jessie during the run of Mimi (or a Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Firehall that simply said “can you get Ordinary Days?”  Why it was on our radar, I can’t remember.  Anyway, it wasn’t until almost two months later that we got around to listening to it together.  We were driving back from Langley where my grandfather had just had his 80th birthday.  We got home…ummm…I mean, back to the office, and we both said “we have to do this!”  And now, two years to that day, we will start rehearsals for Ordinary Days.

What is it about Gwon’s music?  He is multi-award-winning, counts Broadway living legend Audra McDonald amongst his biggest fans (she, in fact, sang a song from Ordinary Days during her Vancouver concert last season), and was hand picked by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical) to attend the Dramatists Guild of America’s Fellows Program.

For me, it’s a multitude of things.  Almost instantly, after a somewhat peaceful “Underture”, his musical pulls you into the frantic-ness of morning pedestrian rush hour in Times Square.  He gives each of his four characters a very distinctive musical voice:  the oddball accompaniment for wide-eyed Warren, spunky and aggressive melodies for perpetually dissatisfied Deb, the macho yet sentimental rock grooves for lovestruck Jason, and the secretively bittersweet chord changes for wounded Claire.  Beautifully crafted lyrics that are at once humorous and profound.  Music that is accomplished, melodic and also complex.

And one of my favourite things about the music is its simplicity.  Four unamplified voices and one acoustic piano. And that’s all it needs.  Stylistically perfectly integrated into the story itself, the music reveals to us the extraordinary in the ordinary.

- Steven Greenfield, Relephant Theatre Co-Producer, Ordinary Days Cast Member (Warren) and Co-Musical Director

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For further reading on Adam Gwon and the music of Ordinary Days, please visit the following sites:

Ahrens & Flaherty on Adam Gwon
Adam Gwon’s Official Website
Rodgers and Hammerstein website for Ordinary Days
Going…Going…Gwon (Adam Gwon’s personal blog)
Check out some of the music from Ordinary Days (or even buy the cast recording!)
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Praise for Adam Gwon and Ordinary Days:

“A QUIETLY AFFECTING SHOW… Ordinary Days introduces a promising newcomer to our talent-hungry musical theater. Mr. Gwon writes crisp, fluid and funny lyrics that reflect the racing minds of four New Yorkers on a nervous search for their immediate futures. Ordinary Days…captures with stinging clarity that uneasy moment in youth when doubts begin to cloud hopes for a future of unlimited possibility.” –Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“FULL OF IDIOSYNCRATIC CHARM… A heartfelt and clever look at life in modern-day New York… Gwon is a young writer of significant promise.” (Critic’s Pick) –Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

“ARRESTINGLY POETIC… A small-scale pleasure. Those who like to spot talented theatrical up-and-comers will want to check out Adam Gwon.” (Critic’s Choice) –Charles McNulty, LA Times

“RAPTUROUS… Gwon’s brushstrokes mark him as a talent to watch.” –Variety