Early on in “Tomorrow Morning,” a musical about a couple as seen simultaneously on the brink of two crucial points in their relationship, the young husband-to-be (a live-for-the-moment kind of guy) tries to humor his wife-to-be (who has a penchant for thinking about possible future calamities) by quipping this certainty: “100 percent of divorces begin with marriage.”
Although it would be a bit of a spoiler to reveal whether or not the pair’s marriage ultimately does end in divorce, the beginning and end points are just about all you need to know when it comes to this 95-minute chamber musical by Laurence Mark Wythe, a British-born writer, composer and lyricist.
Initially developed in London, given a Chicago production at the Greenhouse in 2008 and produced off-Broadway in 2011, the trajectory of the show’s story could not be more basic, thin and predictable. The only thing that distinguishes it is its clever structure, which puts a sort of pop-culture spin on the famous T.S. Eliot poem that begins, “Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future/And time future contained in time past.”
In “Tomorrow Morning,” time past and time future are interwoven at almost every turn. And in the show’s revival by Kokandy Productions (the Chicago company that recently staged a top-notch production of “Heathers: The Musical”), the actors, under the direction of John D. Glover, live out a decade of their lives in a time frame that is enacted simultaneously.
When: Through Aug. 28
Where: Kokandy Productions at
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont
Info: (773) 975-8150;
Run time: 95 minutes with
When we first meet them, John (Neil Stratman) and Kat (Tina Naponelli), are in their 20s (and their sexual prime), but by all indications they are full of insecurities and not really ready for marriage. Nevertheless, John has surprised both Kat and himself by popping the question, and the deed will be done.
It is now the night before they are to be wed, and John is waiting to hear if a film script he wrote has been accepted, and Kat is thinking about moving up the ladder as a magazine editor until she receives the wholly unexpected and far more life-changing news that she is pregnant. Although John initially bolts, the two patch things up in record time and the marriage goes forward, even if John’s usual carelessness results in their limo arriving late. A harbinger of things to come? Probably.
By the time the action moves to the breakup, Jack (Carl Herzog) and Catherine (Teressa LaGamba) are in their 30s, and they are the parents of a 9-year-old son. We never see him, but it becomes clear that he is unhappy about what is about to happen the next morning, when his parents sign their divorce papers.
Meanwhile, Jack, who is prematurely balding and no longer as “cute” as he once was, fantasizes about his post-divorce exploits with other women on some sun-drenched island. And Catherine, a workaholic editor who is far from the shapely girl she once was, is angry and hurt, and both fearful and relieved about the end of her marriage.
And so it goes. The actors sing well, whether alone, in tandem or as something of a quartet, with musical director Kory Danielson at the piano. (Replacing him, Aug. 8-28, will be Allison Hendrix, currently giving a bravura performance as Amy, the girl who is “not getting married,” in the Writers Theatre revival of “Company.”) But nothing about Wythe’s story or score is terribly revelatory or memorable. And it’s difficult to care one way or the other about the fates of his generic characters.
Designer Ashley Ann Woods’ set places the audience on either side of the time periods, with a girly bedroom the focus of the youthful couple, and a kitchen/den for their “older” incarnation. But the abiding question here is: Can this marriage be saved? And the answer might well be: “Do you really care one way or the other?”