Florida Festival of New Musicals
Book by Jenny Stafford
Lyrics by Jenny Stafford and Scotty Arnold
Music by Scotty Arnold
Directed by George Colangelo
Musical Direction by Ned Wilkinson
Starring David Paul Rowan, Christopher Norton, Alexis Harter
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL
These comments are based on a developmental reading. The final script may be significantly different.
Some people just can’t check out of their rooms. Owen (Rowan) lives in a cheap motel, and the manager would like to evict him. But Owen is tricky; he’s current on his rent and isn’t making trouble. It’s the sort of thing that could drive manager Kevin Kelly to drink. Instead, this fussy boss assigns the eviction to fresh faced desk clerk Emma (Harter). She’s a soft touch with a bit of marketing savvy and she tries to lift the general tone of this depressing establishment. Meanwhile, she falls for Owen until an itinerant pipeline jockey Ethan (Norton) checks in. Emma struggles to shake off Ethan; she likes him but can see future problems with both guys. Will she escape with Ethan and join his quest to see the USA in his pickup, or will she sink into the Extended Stay tar pit with Owen and all her coworkers? The story feels plausible, and the characters likeable, the music pleasant but not rousing, and Ethan sure looks like he’s got more going than just an affinity for bathrobes. This show feels like it needs more tension, or higher stakes. I liked it but don’t really love it.