Review “Tomorrow Morning” (Kokandy Productions): Your Summer Date Night Destination

TomorrowMorning-1Kokandy Productions presents TOMORROW MORNING.

On the eve before a dramatic relationship change, four individuals contemplate the sustainability of love. Tina Naponelli (Kat) and Neil Stratman (John) prepare to marry. Carl Herzog (Jack) and Teressa LaGamba (Catherine) brace for a divorce. Director John D. Glover gives us the birds-eye view into that intimate evening of apprehension.  He has Scenic Designer Ashley Ann Woods splice the stage into quarters. The audience, positioned on two sides, is looking down into these well-defined rooms. Each space reflects the inhabitant. Even when the character isn’t the focal point of the scene, we see them as a living backdrop. She restlessly flips through a magazine.  He settles in an easy chair to enjoy a smoke.  The multiple-room visual adds an authentic peek into the private moments of these four people.

TomorrowMorning-4Creator Laurence Mark Wythe wrote the book, music and lyrics for TOMORROW MORNING. Wythe’s story is a light, frothy rom-com. It has an uplifting sweetness for some summer loving. The angst even with the divorcing couple is minimal. LaGamba, in particular, sings beautifully of disappointments but with more regret than anger. Wythe makes the set-up obvious. Reviewing the characters’ names in the program, Kat, John, Catherine, Jack, establishes that it’s one couple at different points in their relationship. Common elements and language, like paint brushes and ‘senior editor’, overlap almost immediately in the stories. Although I like the premise, it doesn’t work easily the way Glover casts it. A nine year old son places the couple from wedding to divorce at ten years in the future.  Since Herzog and LaGamba don’t resemble Stratman and Naponelli, it’s hard for me to see them as the same couple only a decade later.

TomorrowMorning-5Despite my struggle to suspend logic in connecting characters, there is no denying this cast’s harmonies are terrific.  Under the musical direction of the piano-playing Kory Danielson, the singing fills the space and even threatens to poke holes in the roof during powerhouse crescendos. Kokandy Productions has established itself as a solid musical theatre. TOMORROW MORNING is another example of their commitment to showcasing less familiar musicals and less-familiar-musical actors to Chicago. TOMORROW MORNING makes for a great date night this summer.

Running Time:  Ninety minutes with no intermission

At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont

Book, music and lyrics by Laurence Mark Wythe

Directed by John D. Glover

Music direction by Kory Danielson

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru August 28th

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Photos by Michael Brosilow


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