by Ben Togut
Caught in the grip of alcoholism, two lovers watch as their lives spiral out of control in Days of Wine and Roses, a new adaptation of the 1962 film, now playing at Studio 54. Two Broadway veterans at the top of their game, Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James deliver nuanced and devastating performances as a husband and wife struggling to navigate the toll of addiction.
As Kirstie, O’Hara is truly a joy to watch. Commanding Adam Guettel’s haunting score, she has never sounded better, her rich soprano underscoring the emotional volatility of her performance. Guettel’s score provides O’Hara ample opportunity to showcase her versatility as both a vocalist and actor, as when she scats while her character drunkenly vacuums the apartment, a welcome moment of comedy in a musical with such bleak subject matter.
D’Arcy James perfectly complements O’Hara, delivering an earnest and moving performance as Joe, a husband fighting to stay sober and keep his family afloat. The chemistry between the couple and the pathos of their performances is also a credit to director Michael Greif, whose direction establishes the emotional stakes of this classic story and breathes new life into its characters.
At once a love story and a harrowing portrait of addiction, Days of Wine and Roses is sure to resonate with audiences whether they are familiar with the original movie or not.