BWW REVIEW: Good Night Theatre Collective Brings Drama, Suspense, and Laughs with Premier of DAYTIME: A SOAP OPERA MUSICAL
The Good Night Theatre Collective debuted the new original musical DAYTIME: A SOAP OPERA MUSICAL this weekend. The show takes audiences into the world of a 1980s daytime soap opera where the drama behind the scenes is just as sensational as what's on the screen. Luke Tatge tackles the book, music, and lyrics to the new original show that delightfully leans into dramatic soap opera tropes from the get-go.
This new work by Tatge tells the tale of a long running daytime soap opera that goes from failing to the talk of the town to canceled all within a few days. As if that isn't enough of a roller coaster, add in surprise deaths, unexpected pregnancies, and love triangles to the mix and audiences are treated to a show that leaves them laughing from the pandemonium on display. The format of the show is a show within a show, introducing the audience to not only the storyline of the on screen alter-egos but the goings on in the lives of the actors playing the soap stars as well.
The show is filled with Good Night regulars that Sioux Falls audiences have come to know and love, as well as some making their Good Night debuts. The cast of nine includes: Rachael Andersen, Devin Basart, Larissa Buchholz, Brittany Hanson, Debbi Jones, Matt Morrison, Bob Wendland, and Molly Wilson.
Each character has their own level of outlandish characteristics and gives the actors room to play up the drama. Hanson is hysterical and engaging as Carla Boyd, the often-forgotten cast member looking to be more than a comatose living prop. Her conversation turn mental breakdown with a rubber chicken prop is one I won't soon forget. Basart, as the dimwitted Andy Crane, steels every scene he's in with his consistent comedy chops. Buchholz brings the mean girl sass to breakout star Charlene Stillman who is looking for take her career to a new level.
Intermixed with the abundance of dramatic characters are ones that feel grounded and give audiences a chance to catch up. Anderson is compelling and captivating as Sandy Trueheart; grounding the character in a way that would be nice to see in other characters. Morrison's director Mel Crane is clearly the voice of reason in this show; the steady guiding hand that keeps the train on track. This quality translates well into the musical numbers with the steadiness of Morrison's voice.
There is no shortage of reminders of the 1980s, from the music, to the costumes, and pastel covered set there is no doubt which decade we're in. I loved seeing the ridiculous 1980s hair and fashion with Charlene rocking shoulder pads and Denise the side pony. The show brings in the 1980s nostalgia factor for audiences who grew up during that time.
The show ends with a retrospective voiceover by Morrison as he updates the audience on where the stars are now. The ending is a nice nod to nostalgia culture and looks to explain the popularity and success of soap operas - they are a form of escapism from a real life that somedays is too real. If that was one of Tatge's hope in creating this show, giving audiences a few hours of escapism in a real life that is somedays too real, then he succeeded. DAYTIME treated audience members to an evening filled with drama, suspense, and laughs that won't soon be forgotten.
Good Night has one more show this season - DUDES SING THE DIVAS on June 6th and 7th at Icon Lounge. Be sure to get your tickets before it sells out, and while you're there be sure to get your tickets for Season four!
Photo Credit: The Good Night Theatre Collective