It should have been an omen. The show today was scheduled for 2:30, but the York theater waited until the house finally filled up around 2:50 before artistic director James Morgan took the stage and addressed the audience for about another seven minutes.
When the show began, the opening song,"The Day Before Spring" sung by its star, Katherine (Madison Claire Parks), was drowned out by the on stage band. The day got worse as the show went on. Cast members were reading from their scripts, which added to a really bad story to begin with.
The Day Before Spring is a story about a couple that goes back to their college's tenth year reunion. Katherine is still smitten with an old college flame, who has just written a book called, you guessed it, The Day Before Spring. Will she leave her glue making husband for this accomplished writer? Who cares. The show is so lackluster, so uninspiring, that it is ... By the end of this disaster, that it does not matter.
With better direction, this musical could have kept the audience interested in what was going on the stage. The two past lovers had no chemistry with each other. Songs that they sang were not felt, were not romantic enough to bind the two. Worse yet, the two decide to run off and when the car breaks down in the mountains, they some how run into old classmates in the middle of nowhere. When Katherine's husband arrives on the scene, the show becomes beyond hookie and stupid.
A good community theater could have been more entertaining. The acting was not enthusiastic, nor did it seem like most of the actors cared how the show came off. The humor, with the exception of Kent M. Lewis, was awful. Lewis did a great job as the locked jaw WASPISH fellow.
Stars like Michelle Liu Coughlin and Nicolas Dromard were awful. Their singing and dancing were horrific, as were their acting. Will Reynolds, who was supposed to have carried the show was not a factor in this performance.
Reading from the script may have added to the lack of commitment from the actors. Maybe it was reading from the script that had the lines falling flat to the audience with script in hand, hand gestures and facial expressions were non existent, and so was the flat humor.
With limited rehearsal time, it was if the actors went through the process of this musical. A show of this genre needs to be rehearsed and acted without a script.
The York usually puts out good work, last years MUFTIES were well done, not to mention Desperate Measures. This effort left a lot to be desired. With competition from all corners of New York City, York needs to put forth a better effort than today's debacle. Reading a script on stage during the performance while people pay good money is atrocious.
For the MUFTIES to work, there needs to be ample rehearsal time. Last year, one of the MUFTIES productions had some actors with script. For the York to make this a huge yearly production, they need to shun the scripts and put forth a more professional production.
Marc Acito, the director, should never have put the musicians on the stage, but rather behind the stage. The actors could not be heard over the music. Ms. Park's was especially not heard whenever she sung.
The costumes were all over the place. From 60s hip to traditional college fraternity worn in the 70s, on to modern dress ... The show was all over the place as far as different eras and generations are concerned. The costumes could have and should have been better thought out. It seems that they were thrown together without any thought involved.
This 90 minute, intermission-less musical is one to be missed. The Day Before Spring didn't have too many things going for it. This cast did not serve the music by Frederick Loewe nor book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner well ... At all. This classic musical was brought forth as uninspired, and as such did not work at all.
About the author
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows