Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

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HT: Musical theater brightens winter’s crevices

Connie Shakalis | H-T Columnist

January 24, 2021


Please don’t hate me because I’d rather comb my hair with an icepick than hear “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” one more time. It was lilting and poignant. The first two thousand times.


That’s one reason I keep returning to watch our community choir Sing for JOY! You might hear “Rainbow” on their Wednesday Zoom meetings, but you’ll also hear “The Fox on a Chilly Night” or “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” and the choir’s theme song, by renowned composer Don Freund, professor of composition at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 1992.


Thank goodness for Cardinal Stage, too, whose artistic director, Kate Galvin, has tackled such projects as self-guided walkable audio plays and out-of-the-mainstream musicals. Here comes one now.


Cardinal Stage musical on tap


Cardinal Stage’s “Ordinary Days” by Adam Gwon, begins Feb. 11. Tickets for this funny musical about the bigness of little moments are still available.


Gwon’s four everyday New Yorkers become unexpectedly wrapped inside a relationship: Artist Warren brings ambition and cat-sitting commitments. Grad student Deb comes from the suburbs with a bursting portfolio of plans; uncertainty is certain for her. Jason’s romance is dwindling, filling him with questions; Claire, his resistant love interest, suffers from a private injury.


Cast member Kayla Marie Eilers embodies authentic musical theater spunk. And, backstage, no one is raucously funnier. Henry Miller, alone, might be worth the price of the ticket. He has stood way out in everything I’ve seen him in. I’ve applauded loudly for Nina Donville in several previous productions and remember her best as Jasmine in IU’s “Nice Nails.” If you saw Cardinal’s “Newsies,” you will remember its male lead, Julian Diaz-Granados as Jack Kelly. He has that coveted membership in the actors’ union, Equity, and although I’ll never say union members are better than nonunion ones, in “Newsies” he surely made Equity proud, delivering a performance near that cast’s apex.


“Ordinary Days” is relatable at this (pandemic) time,” Diaz-Granados said over the phone. “It’s about people having big impacts on each other.” Although he described the play as a feel-good story, he noted its depth. “It’s also about connecting with other people, and Kate (Galvin, director) makes sure we actors stay connected, even though we are all rehearsing in different locations.”


Cardinal sent tech equipment to Julian’s home in New York City. And to bond, the four actors have been FaceTiming during days off.