Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Long Story Short

When a show covers 50 years, difficult decisions must be made about what to include and what to leave out. Long Story Short, which covers five decades of a love relationship, omits showing us how its couple falls in love. We see Charles really like Hope, without Hope reciprocating. Then we see Hope loving Charles, with no explanation of just how that happened. The missing scene might have enticed us to care about the couple and their life's journey together. Without it, they're slightly annoying people who go from relationship cliché to relationship cliché. And when the story does break out of the mold, it becomes heavy-handed and unconvincing.

Charles is Jewish; Hope is part Chinese, part Filipino. Both are completely, generically American. They marry, reproduce, fight, and age. They are, ostensibly, deeply in love, and we are suppose to care if they stay together. Unfortunately, the scenes that might have won our hearts failed to make it into the show.

The music and lyrics (by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda) are occasionally pretty and occasionally clever, but frequently repetitious. I left the show with a vicious earworm that hammered my brain for hlurs.

Pearl Sun, as Hope, has moments, but mostly she seems miscast. (Her singing is surprisingly lackluster for someone who stood by for the lead role in Next to Normal.) She handles big emotions competently. Bryce Ryness also has moments. His younger and later years are awkward, but he is believable and moving in the middle decades. His voice is nice, and he sometimes truly connects with the audience. The show is directed by Kent Nicholson.

(fifth row; press ticket)

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