Presented by The Badlands Theater Co. at the Blue Heron Arts Center, 123 E. 24 St., NYC, Oct. 29-Nov. 23.
"Like a Springsteen Song" tells a story of friendship and rekindled love. Two thirtysomethings, once high-school sweethearts, unexpectedly meet again on the streets of New York. Playwright Scott Brooks neatly weaves flashbacks of the pair's high-school relationship with scenes of their present-day disillusionment, interspersing short verses of Bruce Springsteen classics, to create a winning romantic drama.
What is memorable about this play is the depth of the contrasting characters. Sondra Wymar added layers to the role of Sara, a cynical wife and former artist who has settled for a comfortable marriage. Joe Hickey rose above sentimentality to portray the recently widowed George as an optimist who has kept warm a flame in his heart for her.
The narrator (Mark Ransom) sings and renders parts of Springsteen's songs on his acoustic guitar between scenes that relive Sara and George's teenage years as best friends, and ones that render their current lives, where they tentatively begin to build a new relationship in spite of the scars inflicted by an unfaithful husband and the pain of losing a wife.
The music lends a lyrical, wistful quality that permeates their developing love story—inevitable, but wonderful to watch.
The direction by Cat Proper played up the differences between youthful playfulness and the wary reality of disillusioned lives. Playwright Brooks builds just enough romantic tension between these two characters to keep one hoping for the final scene where they decide to leave the city and build a new life together.
Set designer Jeremy Chernik provided the upscale living room. Marisa DiTeresa added appropriate costume detail for flashbacks to the late 1980s.