Photo: Joan Marcus
By Brian Scott Lipton
It’s almost irrefutable that one will step into “Days of Wine and Roses,” now at Studio 54 after an earlier run at the Atlantic Theatre Company, wondering why JP Miller’s shattering source material about a couple battling alcoholism – first presented on television in 1958 and then memorably filmed in 1962 – has been musicalized. And full truth be told, you may leave this unusual show without a truly satisfactory answer, but unless you have a heart of stone, you will be moved.
Even then, at the very least, you will be unbearably grateful to have heard the clarion, celestial voices of the wonderful Kelli O’Hara, in her finest stage performance to date as the naïve secretary Kirsten Arnesen, and the sublime Brian D’Arcy James as the more worldly PR man Joe Clay, who fall in love with each other and the bottle.
Admittedly, we’re asked to suspend a bit of disbelief at the beginning of the show, since O’Hara and D’Arcy James – perfect-looking as they are (especially in Dede Ayite’s stunning period costumes) – are at least a decade or two older than their characters should be. Fortunately, these two actors are so completely compelling from the get-go it barely matters. Continue reading...