Who cares, who cares, who cares?" That's a line from a song in "Glory Days," which opened last night at Circle in the Square. It's also the sentiment that sums up this undeveloped post-high-school musical whose own backstory is more fascinating than what's onstage.
The show is by twentysomething actors and first-time authors Nick Blaemire (music and lyrics) and James Gardiner (book). It premiered at the Signature Theater in Arlington, Va., in January and was a surprise, last-minute addition to the Broadway season. The creators show promise, but it's still a mystery why the play was rushed in.
The barely-there, cliched plot is about four high-school friends returning to the football stadium a year after graduation for a one-night reunion to catch up on each other's lives. That means talking about girls, beer and, in the vaguest of ways, good old days.
Midway into the 90-minute production, one of them shares a secret about himself a pal can't handle (take a guess what it is) and all go their separate ways. It would be poignant if the foursome ever behaved like real buddies.
Blaemire's songs are general-purpose pop-rock, and played here by a four-man ensemble. Blaemire has spent too much time listening to "Rent" and boy-band harmonies - and his lyrics lack focus. Even in his Playbill bio, he can't decide whether to write in the first-person or third, so he does both.
Gardiner lands a couple laughs (there's a good one about Anne Heche), but doesn't develop the boys beyond one dimension. We know nothing about them other than not making a football squad.
Director Eric Schaeffer, head of Signature Theater who helped develop the show for several years, needed to do more nurturing. His direction consists of having the cast run up and down on James Kron-zer's set - bleachers and a wall of stadium floodlights that change color and create patterns to underscore the action.
The friends are played by Steven Booth, Andrew C. Call, Adam Halpin and Jesse JP Johnson, all reprising their roles.
This show is the last musical to open on Broadway in a season filled with small, boutique-style shows ranging from the pure entertainment of "Xanadu" to the more ambitious "Passing Strange." "Glory Days" doesn't deliver in either category.
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Show Run Time: 90 minutes with no intermission
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