[THEATER REVIEW] It’s Only Life Explores the Angst of Love in Song

The ensemble of “It’s Only Life.” Phillip McBride, Joaquin Nunez, Ken Shepski, Jill Marie Burke, Devon Davidson and Kayri Morrison. Photo: Daniel L. Wilson.

Modern life is difficult, especially for those seeking meaningful relationships in urban settings.

It’s Only Life, a musical review of 20 years’ worth of songs written by noted New York composer John Bucchino, explores poignant, often sad and sometimes funny interactions by a metrosexual six-character cast.

The show has previously been staged in New York, Washington D.C. and Paris.

As the show begins, three men and three women walk around the edges of the stage, seemingly uncomfortable with displaying their emotions. They are single, approaching middle age, both hetero and homosexual.

Ballads describe urban life where relationships are transitory with lyrics that teem with alienation, broken dreams and ultimately wisdom. The actors sing of dreams that don’t equate with reality and fears of growing old without finding lasting love.

Two men flirt in a bar. A woman lounges against a piano singing about her memories of “how complete we used to be.” Another questions: “Who made the rule that two are better than one?” Another sings: “He’s leaving. I can’t imagine why. I’m perfect for him.” And another ponders: “I miss you more when you’re here.”

Bucchino’s works have have been compared to those of composer Stephen Sondheim. His most familiar scores are for the musicals Urban Myths, Lavender Girl and Broadway’s A Catered Affair, which won the New York Drama League Award for Best Musical.

His songs have also been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Sydney Opera House, Hollywood Bowl and the White House and have been recorded by Patti LuPone, Yo-Yo Ma, Liza Minelli and other noted performers.

This production offers theatergoers an opportunity to experience the moving songs of one of America’s most up and coming composers in an intimate, setting.

It’s Only Life, through July 9th at Chromolume Theatre, 5429 W. Washington Blvd. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m. Special Saturday performance July 8th at

2 p.m. $35 to $42. Brownpapertickets.com or (323) 320-2898 or artinrelation.com.

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