By Diana Saenger
The world premiere of the musical “Some Lovers,” now in The Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, has a fine cast of four who work hard to create a plausible story based on Burt Bacharach’s original music for the show. But even though sung by talented performers, the songs left me cold and many seemed like a different rendition of the same tune.
The play is more a tale of discovery than entertainment. It’s definitely for deep thinkers.
Playwright Steven Slater’s premise for “Some Lovers” is “The Gift of the Magi,” the Christmas story about a wife who sells her long beautiful hair to buy her husband a watch chain only to discover he has sold his watch to buy her some hair combs for her long beautiful hair.
Michelle Duffy (older Molly) and Jason Danieley (Ben) play two lovers who came together like lightening and slowly realized they were as different as garlic and roses. Michelle is about to sell her New York condo and move away. When she relates this by phone to Ben, he’s feeling guilt and that he still loves her.
As they make conversation – he at his piano and she packing – the essence of them as their younger selves plays out on stage by a young Ben (Andrew Mueller) and young Molly (Jenni Barber). The couple’s backstory is filled in as Ben, a piano player where Molly works as a waitress, writes and sings her a love song.
Other than Ben and Molly who were so impassioned by the story and actually bought each other the book for their first Christmas together, the “Magi” idea didn’t quite resonate with me in “Some Lovers.”
Each cast member has an exceptional voice, but the music by legend Burt Bacharach, just didn’t work for me. Tunes with words like, “Must be nice living without time,” or “Love me for an hour,” felt like songs without hope. Because the four characters talk to each other, it seemed like father and son, mother and daughter having a conversation, not, as was in this instance, the same character. Older Molly mutters, “No one over 23 is ever happy.” Younger Molly answers, “You were.”
One line in the play, “(In) giving someone what they want, all you are doing is killing the best in them,” seemed to come from nowhere. Trying to figure out lines like this, takes the focus off the scenes that follow.
What I gleaned from “Some Lovers,” is the message that people do change as they age, and maturity can open our eyes to past mistakes and what-if’s.
If you go
What: World premiere “Some Lovers”
When: Matinees, evenings through Dec. 31
Where: Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre,
1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
Tickets: From $35
Box Office: (619) 23-GLOBE