Nestled in the Lowertown area of Saint Paul Nautilus Music-Theater is producing a beautiful production of a little known musical, Ordinary Days. Its a hidden gem of a musical and put composer/lyricist Adam Gwon on the theatre map in New York City. Ordinary Days tells the story of four New Yorkers Claire (Kersten Rodau), Jason (Doug Scholz-Carlson), Deb (Jill Anna Ponasik) and Warren (Max Wojtanowicz) as they navigate the streets of New York City and discover who they truly are.
Told through song and a series of vignettes, Ordinary Days is not a standard song and dance musical audiences have come to expect. The show is part of a new breed of musical theater which focuses on telling the stories of its characters through song and with little actual dialogue. This format lends itself to having powerful songs and evoking powerful emotions from the audience, and this production of Ordinary Days is no exception. Doug Scholz-Carlson’s performance of “Favorite Places” was amazing. The song poignantly discusses his character Jason’s favorite places in the city, but his absolute favorite place is somewhere he hasn’t had the opportunity to really be…his girlfriend’s heart. “I’ll Be Here” elegantly sung by Kersten Rodau gorgeously told her character Claire’s struggle to move on after losing her husband.
Max Wojtanowicz sings the song that holds the whole show together, “Life Story”. Throughout the show his character Warren attempts to teach Jill Anna Ponasik’s Deb that your “life story is a series of ordinary days strung together, to make the life you want to live”. This is a song that will resonate with anyone.
The show is the first one staged in Nautilus’ new space. The space seats roughly 40 audience members in its current configuration and offers excellent sight lines in all seats. The area is small, but the most is made of the space. The set design is sparse, but offers the perfect canvas for audience members to imagine how the homes and favorite haunts of the characters would look.
For anyone who is looking for a fun, fast paced musical that will challenge your expectations of what musical theatre is I encourage you to see this show before it closes.
Ordinary Days runs through October 6. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door, although advance purchase is recommended due to limited seating. For more information visit Nautilus Music-Theater’s web site.