by Lorie Lewis Ham
The quality of theatre in the Valley continues to amaze me. Until I started doing these reviews I had no idea there was so much incredible talent right here in our own area. The quality of many of the shows I’ve seen are right up there with professional theatre, and I feel blessed to be in an area so rich with talent. Glory Days, the second production of one of the newer companies, The Organic Theatre Factory, is right up there at the top.
Glory Days is about four best friends from high school who have returned to their old football field after their first year away at college, shared show director Anthony Taylor. They attempt to rediscover their friendship and navigate this new relationship with each other while revealing things about themselves that brings some stress and change to the group.
“I picked Glory Days because I loved the music,” continued Anthony. “After getting my perusal copy of the script, I fell in love with the story.”
One thing that drew Anthony to this show at first was the idea of putting four strong pop tenors in one show. He found these in some local young actors that he has known for awhile—Daniel Rodriguez, Taylor Babcock, Benjamin McNamara and Tyson Pyles, all of which have performed in several local shows. “With Tyson leaving the day after we close for Los Angeles and Taylor leaving the following week for PCPA, I had to strike while the iron was hot.”
This is the Valley premiere of Glory Days, a show which is only a few years old. Another thing that drew Anthony to it was how current and culturally relevant it is to today. This shows through not only in the dialogue and situations within the story-including the constant use of cell phones-but also the songs, especially in one called “Generation Apathy” which is so spot on to what’s happening with today’s youth.
For me the music style of this pop-rock musical was reminiscent of Rent and the voices of these four young men absolutely blew me away, as did their acting. The story was not only relevant and at times funny, but powerful. The ways in which they’ve changed and grown apart in only one year of college, and yet still struggle to hold their friendship together out of love, were so real and moving. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there are a couple moments with Ben’s character where I almost cried, including his beautiful song “Open Road.”
The set is very simple–a bench like you’d see on the sidelines of a football game, artificial turf on the small stage and a lock box which is the center of one of the storylines. It is a cast of only four. The “costumes” are just ordinary clothes you’d see on someone walking down the street. In this small space the audience is right there in the action with the front row mere inches from the stage, drawing you even more into their story. There were no microphones used or needed and it was a joy to hear such real, pure voices live and raw without any of the autotune nonsense you get on TV and sadly often in concerts these days. There was no doubting that these boys can really sing! They are accompanied by a small band behind the stage backdrop.
“The thing I’ve heard from a lot of people as they walk out is, I’ve never seen anything like that,” shared Anthony. “That’s a really cool thing to hear because it means we’re bringing interesting theater to people who both love theater and people who are maybe on the fence about it.”
Glory Days has one remaining weekend left and details can be found on their KRL event page including a link to purchase tickets, which are $15. It is being performed in the Tower District at The Voice Shop on Wishon. To learn more about Organic Theatre Factory check out KRL’s article on the company, their website and their FaceBook page.
Don’t miss this incredible show! Not only is it great music and incredible voices and acting, but it will touch and move you.
Watch for a new Local Live every Wednesday evening at 7!