It has only been five months since "Glory Days," a one-act coming-of-age musical, was staged in Orlando. And half the four-person cast of that production are in the current one -- although in different parts.
Airhead Productions is staging "Glory Days" through Sunday at the Studio Theatre, 398 W. Amelia St., Orlando.
Your affection for this little melodrama will likely depend on how well you remember that first year out of high school, especially if you never fit in while attending high school.
The four young actors in the cast are all appealing in an endearingly nerdish kind of way -- crucial to the story is believing that they all were high-school misfits.
as sweet-faced Jack has the strongest singing voice, and Ross Alagna as angry, cynical Skip leaves the strongest impression. James Channing as Will and Kyle Stone as Andy make believable friends but struggle to convey the motivations behind their characters' actions -- why is Will obsessed with this friendship? Why does Andy turn on a friend so fast? -- but the fault lies less with them than with writers Nick Blaemire and James Gardiner.
The writers provide plenty of light-rock musical numbers, but only give tantalizing clues to the characters' history. Andy had older brothers who were good at sports, we're told. And he's not. So did he feel pressure to shine and then failed? Would that make him overcompensate by trying to prove he's a real macho man? Would that make him homophobic? I'm extrapolating all that, because it's certainly not explained.
In a similar vein, knowing something about Will's home life might offer insight into why he's so invested in these friends, almost obsessively, to the point of keeping a journal about them.
Despite the story's faults, director Ryan Roberge shows a good sense of pacing in keeping the action moving, and he also has a nice eye for details: While the friends are hanging out, two of them start texting or checking their fancy phones. Just like real life.
He's ably assisted by musical director John R. Mason III, who leads a tight three-piece band.
The new group hopes to stage more productions; starting with shows employing simple sets and small casts is a good plan to get things going.
"Glory Days" plays this weekend at 2 & 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16.