The Chase For Emotions (Stage Thoughts: Chasing Mem’ries, Geffen Playhouse)

1498239703_info_image_ChasingMemries-206x270‘Chasing Mem’ries’ has been describes as ‘a different kind of musical.’ (Look at the poster – it’s even written there) But about fifteen minutes into the show, you realize this is not really a musical. This is a play with music, and well, the music could not be better, as they are songs with lyrics by the husband and wife team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

Tyne Daly is Victoria, whose husband of many years has just passed. It is the day of his funeral service, and instead of going down and facing the people who have come to pay respects for her husband, Victoria holes herself up in the attic to look at things her husband left behind. Their son is there, and (as a ghost) his husband is as well. We see her go through the physical things, and at the same time has to deal with all the emotions running through her.

Daly is sensational here, playing a woman she plays best – a tough but sweet no-nonsense woman relatable to a lot. Written by Josh Ravetch, the play is somewhat derived from Mr. Ravetch’s life experience, and the character is fleshed out realistically that you can sense that Victoria is real, and on Daly’s hands, become even more real. I love her singing here – more of an actress who sings and not the other way around – and her subtle delivery give more weight to the lyrics – more showy singing, for example, would make the number more sappy than they already are. By the time Victoria goes through a breakthrough, we feel we have gone with her on the same journey.

This is a small play, though. At ninety minutes, you really do not get (and expect) more than what you get. My favorite moment was revisiting ‘The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye.’ I spent the hours after playing versions of the song in loop from Spotify.

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