Who among us hasn’t, at one time or another, found themselves longing for yesterday? But for aging Tony winner Lydia Taylor, the protagonist of the Foundry’s new musical One More Yesterday who has now spent nearly 50 years out of the spotlight, longings for her happier yesterdays are just about all that she has left.
At least, that’s true at the beginning of this charming, winning new musical with a book by Ronnie Larsen, lyrics by Dennis Manning, and music by Manning and Bobby Peaco, who also serves as its musical director.
Notably, though I saw the show a good three weeks ago (having subsequently been thrown off my usual practice of attempting to write a review as soon as possible after the fact by the fact that I was rehearsing for a show at the time and caught up in various other madness), I can still vividly recall how dazzled, touched, and amused I was by the production. More than that, I can still vividly recall the melodies of quite a few of the show’s infectious musical numbers after only one (or in the case of a few reprised tunes, two or three) listens, and could easily imagine happily hearing them again many times over.
As the show starts, former starlet Lydia can barely afford her rent controlled apartment and Top Ramen, and must report to an agent young enough that she could be his mother’s mother— and he has not managed to get her actual acting work in over a decade. When she finally does get an audition, she isn’t at all surprised that the director she’s appearing before just wants her to “die again,” a moment which inspires a witty number in which she finds herself fantasizing that the young “Karen” she is up against for a part would instead suffer the fate, and then, more strikingly, ponders— “But I’m already dead.”
But the tables begin to turn when it turns out that, as the iconic character Lydia was auditioning for puts it, “Granny ain’t dying today!” The side, it turns out, was merely a clever ruse meant to trick the audience into thinking this spunky “vigilante granny” was down for the count.