The Crossbow Theatre is a new company, and Somewhere... their initial production, a world premiere in fact. Their website has this to say about the show:
On a wet, winding road in Upstate New York, prominent architect, Michael Fields, loses his life in a horrific car accident ... After the funeral service, his wife makes their Manhattan apartment available for a small gathering of family and friends. Caught in limbo, Michael appears as a spirit ... with humor and desperation he reflects on his life and soon realizes that he has to endure the surprising revelations brought on by family and friends. Michael has to bear witness to the hard truths about his personal and business life... although he feels helpless in this environment his journey of self-discovery finally allows him the freedom to move on... somewhere!
Rounding out the uniformly high quality cast are Melissa Kite as Claudia, family friend and former college classmate, Tammy Minoff as Nikki, Michaels' assistant and protoge (as well as partner in flirting), and Willy Romano-Pugh as Michael's autistic brother Albert (I've seen Romano-Pugh the most of this cast, in such shows as Fragments of Oscar Wilde and Whore's Bath). I almost cannot emphasize how much the entire ensemble felt right, how their internal dynamic matched what the script called for them to be. One would think this to be common, but not so! Not at all! Subtly but profoundly, many a production stumbles in this way by showing a group of characters whose relationships don't quite gel, never quite mesh. Not so here! Apart from the genuine abilities of the cast, credit for this belongs also to director Jeanie Drynan and playwright Anthony J. Bowman. Clearly this must have been a collaborative effort, with admirable results.
Two other points. First, I felt the play leaned heavily on stereotypes. The bitchy middle aged gay man always looking for young tail. The bitter divorcee businesswoman who uses sex in lieu of intimacy. Honestly, the play got away from these stereotypes to some degree, but it robbed the whole story of some nuance and in the process some power. Second, the perplexing question of why Michael is still on earth isn't really addressed much and (without giving too much away) that also dilutes the climax. We the audience need to be asking these questions more, to feel the discomfort of not having any answers, to get the full impact of what the playwrights seems to want. Please keep in mind, I'm here talking about nuances. Somewhere... still works, still engages the emotions, still delivers a story with a completion that feels right. But it feels like a the dramatic target ended up hit with a 22 caliber instead of a 44 magnum. But it did hit the target! A bullseye in many ways! I look forward to further shows from this company!
Somewhere... plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm through October 26, 2014 at the Meta Theatre, 7801 Melrose (across the street from Fairfax High School--but you do need to turn north onto Ogden Drive to find the entrance). Tickets are $20 at the door, but you can purchase them ahead of time here.