June 15, 2024

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‘The Lonely Few’ Review: Rocking Out and Falling in Love

Amy’s tour, as it happens, is on pause; her opening act bailed, and she needs to find a new one. Sensing talent as well as a spark, she enlists Lila and her band, the Lonely Few — which also includes Paul (Thomas Silcott), on drums, and JJ (Helen J Shen), on keyboard — to join her for the rest of the tour.

On the road, romance ensues, and so do family complications: Lila’s fretful guilt as Adam spirals without her, still grieving their mother’s death; Amy’s enduring anger that when Paul — the drummer who was her stepdad long ago — left her alcoholic mother, back in New Orleans, he left her, too.

With a habit of cutting people out of her life, Amy is more of a loner than Lila, but each of them has constructed a carapace. The question is whether they are brave enough to shed them for each other.

This intimate, tightly woven musical envelops the audience: with Sibyl Wickersheimer’s wraparound set, which seats some of the crowd in the bar; Adam Honoré’s rock-show lighting, whose beams touch all of us; and the pulse of the songs, which we feel in our bodies — the hard-driving numbers and the quiet ones, too. (Music direction is by Myrna Conn, leading a mostly offstage four-piece band. Sound design, worryingly muddy at first, is by Jonathan Deans and Mike Tracey.)

It might seem for a while that Daunno, a Tony nominee in 2019 for Daniel Fish’s “Oklahoma!” revival, is being squandered in a too-small role. But each of the men gets a number in which he demonstrates the depth of his affection — Dylan and Adam for Lila, Paul for Amy — and each of the actors smashes it. Daunno’s tender reprise of “Waking Up Thirty,” a song about surrendering to dead-end, small-town American life, is devastating.

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