• By: Tatum Bergen

The Lost Songs of 2020: Gladstone Theatre reopens

Theatre is back– alive and well at the Gladstone Theatre. After eighteen months of silence, Gladstone reopens with a musical production about lost art and missed chances–a show that makes vanished performances reappear. The musical act, No Show: Songs from Lost Gigs, is an immersive experience of the lost songs of 2020–ten concerts from one stage.

Walking up to the vintage community theatre feels like stepping back in time to a live concert in the fifties. “Gladstone” glows in Rialto-like lights, greeters welcome you inside, and a bar offers beverages before taking your seat.

The theatre is draped in ruby red curtains, laid with a matching carpet, and complimented by emerald-green seats. It may be a modest community theatre, but it feels like luxury.

Two acoustic guitars wait on a wooden stage as the light cast on the wall dims. Tickets fall from atop a fridge that stands stage right–tickets to the lost shows of 2020.

It is the first opening night in eighteen months, and Gladstone embraces their guests with a warm welcome. The house isn’t packed, but the effect is a private concert.

During the first months of the pandemic, Robin Guy and Scott Richardson began a personal challenge to record and post a song a day by the artists of their cancelled concerts. The pandemic hobby became the inspiration for the show.

The performers are life partners, lending their chemistry to the act. The pair transforms the stage and transports our theatre seats to the couches in their living room. As we listen to their songs from the heart of the pandemic, we wrestle with disruption and process change.

Through cover songs, they grieve the ghosts of lost concerts that are like “lost friends.” Yet, with each performance, the couple’s eyes shine in a way that sings, “I love what I do!”

The duo pivots between the instruments, building atmosphere with an acoustic base, crafting melodies on the piano, and maintaining a folky beat on the tambourine. Across the stage, they sing songs from Sarah Slean to Judy Collins, John Prine and the New Pornographers, to Sloan and Blue Rodeo. From country to folk to Broadway musical, it takes a lot of talent to pull off these songs in one hour with only three instruments and two voices.

Guy and Richardson are gifted artists using song to process the grief of the past year that the rest of us suppressed. Yet, the concert is not sad–it is a celebration. There are songs to be sung and life yet to live and–the theatre is open!

In the audience, a woman hums along to “Goodmorning America, How are ya?” And, once again, the lights dim as a guest shouts, “Bravo!”

The show ends, the duo bows, and Guy thanks the crowd with a tear in her eye:

“Welcome back, we missed you!”

“No Show: Songs from Lost Gigs” runs until November 13, 2021. To purchase tickets, visit the Gladstone online box office.