Aaron Epstein
Thom Geier
February 20, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Story of My Life

Current Status
In Season
Deana Carter

We gave it a C

Like last year’s memorably short-lived Glory Days, which closed the day after its opening-night performance, the new Broadway musical The Story of My Life has the feel of a college thesis project. It’s a coming of age story from a young creative team performed with a polish that’s never less than professional. Also like Glory Days, it ultimately shows more promise than accomplishment. Will Chase (Rent) and Malcolm Gets (Caroline in the City) star as boyhood best friends who drift apart through the years. Chase’s Tom becomes a best-selling author (rather implausibly, of nostalgic short story collections inspired by his childhood) who then must puzzle over the sudden death of Gets’ Alvin, a supposedly eccentric fellow who never managed to escape their provincial hometown.

The Story of My Life unfolds in a series of vignettes, musical short stories that should develop character and plot but never really build to anything in particular. (The paper-thin book is by Brian Hill.) While one or two of the tunes are self-contained narrative gems (”The Butterfly” is a melodic standout), most of composer-lyricist Neil Bartram’s songs play like watered-down Sondheim pastiche. There’s a particularly strong nod to the master’s Sunday in the Park With George, with Tom fixated on his own version of ”the art of making art.” But there’s simply not enough that’s distinctive about these two characters, or their backgrounds, to sustain our interest; this is the rare 90-minute show that feels too long. C

(Tickets: Telecharge.com or 800-432-7250)

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