Everyone wishes they could be younger, even if they revoke that wish only seconds later. In Next Stage's original rock musical, “Danny These Days,” the characters turn that wish into reality. The company's second show (and second world premiere) was written by Oklahoman Rebecca McCauley and was inspired by local musician Jacob Becannen's newly released rock album, titled “ ... and Boy Are My Arms Tired.” The songs are interesting and beautiful
The set appears to be a lived-in basement strewed with empty pizza and beer boxes. The lighting is fairly simple, but shines each time the music starts. The most brilliant parts of the show, however, are the complexities of the characters and how much of their baggage has been written into such a short show.
Danny, played by Becannen, is an adult living his high school lifestyle in his mother's basement. With little to no ambition, Danny is happy working as a pizza delivery boy with a manager who isn't even old enough to drink. Jeremy (Kaleb M. Bruza), age 20, idolizes Danny, whom he says is one of his “best employees” and longs to be considered his friend.
However, Danny is not the only character who seems to be stuck in his childish ways. In fact, the basement set seems to be a kind of Twilight Zone-inspired room in which, once entered, its inhabitants become a much younger version of themselves.
Even the seemingly independent and successful Lizzie, portrayed by Cory King, acts like a teenager. Abby Tresner successfully captures the tragic character of Betsy, Danny's sister, who has also recently moved back into her mother's house.
There are a few rough transitions from scene to music in this show, but for a freshly written rock musical such hiccups can be expected. It is definitely on the right track and Next Stage has given life to something that could be truly remarkable. With a mix of comedy and drama, anyone can enjoy this show.
Much like real life, it seems all the characters in this original rock musical must make their own choices about growing up. The question is whether or not any of them will make that choice before the end of the show.
Next Stage, along with a few other theater groups in the metro area, is doing something great by bringing original and locally written material to the Oklahoma City arts scene. It is definitely worth support by local theater patrons.
— Victoria Stahl