Oscar E Moore

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CLEAR DAY at IRISH REP – Nostalgia is not enough

July 11th, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

I’ll make this short and unfortunately not so sweet.

You will most probably leave this most recent reincarnation of this mostly problematic musical humming a few of its wonderful songs (music by Burton Lane); maybe even singing some of the almost-too-clever lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner who also wrote the befuddled book for ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER that is slugging along for dear life at the Irish Rep on West 22 Street through August 12th.

This valiant production “adapted” and directed by Charlotte Moore appears to bring back the good ol’ summer stock days of yore.  Ms. Moore’s adaptation has cut and pasted and rearranged without making the more than necessary improvements to Alan Jay Lerner’s book which was first produced in 1965.

Its scaled down cast of eleven strives to instill some life into this tale of addicted smoker Daisy Gamble (Melissa Errico) an unemployed “kook” who sings charmingly to flowers to make them grow faster, can locate lost keys and knows before it happens that a phone will ring.

She is inadvertently hypnotized by Dr. Mark Bruckner (a well-intentioned albeit cold Stephen Bogardus) a psychiatrist interested in ESP and regresses to 18th Century England as Melinda Welles where we meet her artist/lover Edward Moncrief – a dashing John Cudia – he alone being right for the role.  His rendition of “She Wasn’t You” is sublime.

The Dr. falls in love with Melinda and courts Daisy to learn more about her past.  Treating her as an experiment.  Daisy falls for the Dr. believing he is growing fonder of her until she discovers the truth and belts out “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have” awakening some interest in an audience member (me) who was finding the proceedings without much spark.

You might have been to a child’s elementary school Drama Club’s year end production of a musical at some point where their fellow students did their best but somehow were just not believable – performing on a simple set with a bit of lackluster choreography.  As good as the tunes were, it really wasn’t enough.  In a word, amateurish.  And so it is with CLEAR DAY.  Nostalgia is not enough.

2 hrs – one 15 minute intermission

Photos:  Walter McBride

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