The original musical tells of a reunion of four pals a year after high school graduation.
The production at Signature's Max Theatre represents a major commitment to unknown young writers from a major resident theatre known for musicals by established writers such as Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Michael John LaChiusa and others.
Signature artistic director Eric Schaeffer will stage the new work, with musical direction by Jesse Vargas.
Blaemire and Gardiner are both from the Washington, DC area, and both have acting credits in their resume (Nick in the national tour of Altar Boyz, James in Signature productions). After graduating from the Sidwell Friends School, Blaemire attended the University of Michigan, where he received his BFA in musical theatre in 2006. He has composed two original musicals and an album of pop music, and is also an actor. His writing has been presented at Signature, as well as the Kennedy Center, Joe's Pub, the Lucille Lortel Theatre and elsewhere.
Gardiner grew up in College Park, MD, and attended the University of Maryland College Park. Glory Days is his first libretto. He's written several short plays, and he co-founded of the comedy website www.claymoreproductions.com. As an actor, Gardiner performed in The Witches of Eastwick and Saving Aimee at Signature.
Gardiner said in production notes, "Nick and I have been buddies since high school. We have a very similar sense of humor; we both really know how to kill a joke. And I think because of that we became close friends almost immediately. The summer after our freshmen year of college, Nick approached me with an idea for a new musical. He played me a song that he had written called 'Open Road' — surprisingly one of only a handful of songs that still remains from the original draft — and after hearing that song I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the project."
Blaemire added, "When I asked him to work on this show with me, it changed our relationship from a friendship to some non-sensual version of dating, where we bicker and fight like we're married. But if anything I would say our friendship has quintupled in strength due to the things we've learned about each other as writers."
"Glory Days is the story of four high school friends who reunite one year after graduation only to discover how dramatically their lives have grown apart," according to Signature. "While they attempt to reconnect and understand each other's differences, nothing can compare to the glory days of high school when life was simpler and all appeared right with the world. A poignant, coming-of-age story, Glory Days features music styles from pop and folk to contemporary rock."
"Three years ago while teaching at the Overtures Musical Theater Institute at The Kennedy Center, two young men brought in a song they had written," director Schaeffer explained in production notes. "Boldly, they asked if they could play it for me. I listened to it intently and thought they had something special. The song was from raw, young voices complete with smart, simple, honest lyrics. Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby Jr. was teaching a master class the next day, and I told them to play it for him. They did. And Richard had the same reaction as I did. Those two young men, Nick Blaemire and James Gardiner, both at the ripe old age of 23, are premiering their very first musical Glory Days here at Signature."
For more information about the January 2008 world premiere of Glory Days, visit www.signature-theatre.org.
For more information about the collaborators, visit www.jamesandnick.com.