Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Havok Theatre's The Story of My Life


The Story of My Life

Havok Theatre Company’s The Story of My Life has just extended its run and will now play through April 18th at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. It’s a good thing too, as this gem of a musical is one you really don’t want to miss. It had a very short run on Broadway last year and this is its Los Angeles premiere.

The story is familiar - growing up isn’t easy. Discovering the adult we will one day become can be an awkward, confusing process. More often than not, we suffer the growing pains of our youth alone. If we’re lucky, we stumble upon someone who helps us navigate that obstacle course; someone who reminds us of the beauty of our own gifts that we cannot see for ourselves. That is a true friend.

Such is the case with Thomas Weaver (Robert J. Townsend) and Alvin Kelby (Chad Borden) in The Story of My Life, best friends since their early grade school meeting when their teacher, Mrs. Remington, had the foresight to put them together…because, as Alvin sings, “Mrs. Remington knew that the battlefield of childhood was easier with two.”

At the top of the show we meet Tom as an adult, now a well-known author, struggling to write a eulogy for Alvin following Alvin’s death. The words do not come, so he digs back into his memory. Through a series of flashbacks, we re-live Tom and Alvin’s childhood escapades – their triumphs and disappointments, challenges and changes. They are as different as two people could possibly be…and yet, they develop a bond that becomes a safety net, protecting their innocence and nurturing their true selves into being. But life doesn’t always turn out as you plan.

I fell in love with both of these characters. Townsend, as Tom, is handsome, boyishly charming, and has a voice that will run through you like liquid gold. Borden’s Alvin is absolutely endearing – a unique old soul that revels in the joy of his friendship with Tom. Both deliver thoughtful, multi-layered performances that go well below the surface under Nick DeGruccio’s direction.

Michael Paternostro’s musical direction is impeccable. The Neil Bartram score is filled with soaring melodies, comical lyrics and a sophistication that at times made me think of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George. Music lovers will find a great deal to love here.

Tom Buderwitz’s ethereal bookstore set serves as the jumping off point for Tom and Alvin’s stories, coming to life as a number of locations from the past with the infusion of color from Steven Young’s lighting. Simple, subtle and effective.

You can't help but think about the childhood friends that have had an impact on your own life while watching The Story of My Life. We are, after all, the sum of all the people we have known, decisions we have made, and heartaches that we have experienced. That is the beauty of it all.

The Story of My Life runs through April 18 at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets go to www.havoktheatre.com/ or call 818-505-1875.
Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
10:07 PM
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