Tiara Whaley, Peter Corley, and Aja Downing in the Depot Theatre’s ANALOG AND VINYL.

A strength of the Depot is its perfect pitch for knowing when to poke smoldering social issues and when to let sleeping dogs lie. There are so many eye-averting troubles we must confront today at every turn that the luxury of escapism feels to be just what we needed.

Analog and Vinyl is a light and welcome beach-read of a musical that asks little of us, except that we sit back and enjoy an evening free of worldly encumbrances.

The scene of Analog and Vinyl is a vintage record shop operating out of a defunct convenience store, and from the get-go the set makes us happy — nostalgic posters of Steppenwolf and such, papering over walls that retain the garish 7-Eleven color scheme.

This is the lonely stamping grounds of the stressed Harrison, played by Peter Corley, whose lot in life is a blind devotion to the pressed albums of old that have lost out to the inferior but more convenient strains of the digital world.

Peter Corley

Corley aptly channels his inner Eeyore while still maintaining an appropriate hint of optimistic light (not an easy balancing act, but Corley pulls it off), by way of a stone cold assurance that one of these days the unwashed masses will see the error of their ways and come flocking to his store for LPs. (We in 2024 America know that, theoretically, he was right, and somehow this knowledge makes Harrison both more endearing and situationally valid.)

Helping Harrison in the shop, or trying to, is the air-headed Rodeo Girl (Tiara Whaley) who is a bubbly, amusingly difficult to explain presence. Though the plot of Analog and Vinyl is a bit uneven in spots, we’re all having fun so it can remain an article of faith that loose ends will eventually be tied and inconsistencies reconciled, at least close enough for a rom-com.

Tiara Whaley

Whaley skillfully takes a puzzling character and layers on complexities that grow as the show goes on, culminating in A&V’s best moment, Whaley’s rendition of “Vinyl Boy,” which brings down the house.

But the most delicious role of The Stranger is saved for the superb Aja Downing, who knows exactly what to do with a choice part. Of course you can’t spell “stranger” without s-a-t-a-n, and sure enough, the stranger has an offer that Harrison and Rodeo Girl can’t refuse. Or can they?

Aja Downing

As the two wrestle with their difficult decisions, more of their veneers crumble away and reveal tear-shedding vulnerabilities that make us feel far different about them than when they started out.

Director Beth Glover keeps the show hopping with levity until the plot can build momentum of its own. Also keeping toes tapping is a talented orchestra — Jane Boxall on drums, Bill Stokes on bass, and Andy Tompkins on guitar, with keyboards and music direction by Valerie Gebert — playing a lively score that is kind of essential to a show about a record shop.

THE ORCHESTRA –  (L-R) Valerie Gebert, musical director and keyboards; Andy Tompkins, guitar; Jane Boxall, drums; Bill Stokes, bass.

All told, the show leaves us far happier than when we came in, and not many diversions today can make that claim. Circumstances being what they are, the Depot’s Analog and Vinyl is a refreshing oasis from our cares in a day and age when, for a little carefree fun, we might even sell our souls.


Tim Rowland contributed this review by the request of, and in collaboration with the Depot Theatre. Rowland is a journalist and New York Times bestselling author, whose humorous commentaries explore an eclectic variety of subject matter, from politics to history to the great outdoors. He and his wife Beth live on the Ausable River in Jay, N.Y.