Posted by: sergius 06:49 am EDT 05/27/23

A “why?” musical. Addiction stories are always the same story; their narrative arcs are rote. Nothing surprising or even interesting is likely to happen when the subject is substance abuse: ruin precedes either recovery or death. Guettel can’t work his way around this predictability in DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES. He’s clearly most interested in the struggle of recovery, and so he rushes to get to this part of the story where he lingers. In the process, the two main characters, both alcoholics, are ill defined and so it’s hard to feel much about them and their efforts to stop drinking. On paper, the stakes are high. But it doesn’t feel like it because the leads are under characterized; we don’t know them well enough to care very much about them. Additionally, Guettel’s score is hard to grasp. It billows lushly, but it’s indeterminate, sitting uncomfortably between an eddying song cycle and some more traditional musical theatre form. Still, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES is a work of consistent intelligence and craft. And it’s beautifully performed. O’Hara, in particular, is expectably impeccable. She’s compelling throughout.

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