Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review of Trevor at Writers Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Trevor. The book and lyrics were by Dan Collins based on the film Trevor. The music was by Julianne Wick Davis with orchestrations by Greg Pliska. It was directed by Marc Bruni and the musical direction was by Matt Deitchman. The choreography was by Josh Prince. It was about a boy named Trevor (Eli Tokash) who was in middle school in the 80s, obsessed with Diana Ross (Salisha Thomas), and was discovering his sexuality and that apparently it wasn't ok, according to his friends and family, for him to feel the way he did. He has fallen in love with Pinky Faraday (Declan Desmond) who is a football player and they become friends. But it doesn't seem like Pinky is interested in him in a romantic way, and Trevor's secret diary gets discovered and causes problems for him. It is about identity, adolescence, and inspiration. I think this is a really great show. It has a talented young cast, really good music, and a powerful story.

I really liked the opening song "On With the Show." It was a great way to begin the show; it introduced some of the characters in a way that was concise but still specific and detailed. It was adorable how Trevor talked about who Pinky Faraday was: "with a name like Pinky you'd think he'd be...but he's not." It shows how he feels about Pinky before you've even seen them have an interaction. This song establishes Trevor's motivations, his relationships, and the upbeat tone of the first act. Because he talks directly to the audience, you get to know his thoughts and see how lovable and relatable he is. And he hits a high note that was really amazing! The song "Weird" felt very true. The first time it is sung it is more of an accusation against Trevor by Mary (Eloise Lushina) and Frannie (Maya Lou Hlava), the queen bee of the school and her friend. The second time, it is sad because Trevor is singing about how he can't quite figure out why he feels how he does. It is interesting to see Trevor taking the word weird and applying it to himself. He isn't really able to take into account that he might be gay because that is not something he had been educated about. It made me think a lot about how hard it would have been to have been gay in this time period and not know anything about it because kids didn't have as many positive resources to find out what it feels like when you are gay.

Trevor had two different role models. One was Diana Ross who he would possibly never meet and Diana probably didn't really know about him, though he fantasizes that she does. The movements that Diana and Trevor would do together were so beautiful because they were so connected and showed you how connected he felt to her in his brain. Diana Ross had great fashion, a great voice, and was in a great musical, The Wiz, which might have sparked Trevor's interest in musicals. And all of her songs seem to be encouraging people to be themselves and do what they want. She's a great icon for people trying to find their identity and be who they want to be no matter what kind of prejudice people have against them. But Trevor also actually needs a role model for his everyday life, not just in his fantasies, which he finds in Jack (Jhardon DiShon Milton) who is a candy striper who was also obsessed with Diana Ross and who shows Trevor that his life will get better and inspires him to talk to Pinky face to face.

This show was very moving, but that doesn't mean it didn't have a lot of funny moments. I really loved the song "Underneath (Turn the Page)." It was so funny and also a realization song for Trevor. He realizes that he isn't attracted to women because his friend Walter (Matthew Uzarraga) is doing a science experiment with an underwear catalog. It was hilarious when Trevor gets obsessed not with the looks of the women but how uncomfortable the ways they are posing are. There is a girl who is sitting on a bale of hay in her underwear and he says, "Wouldn't that be itchy? I want a girl who is more intelligent than that." And Walter did this amazing dance. It was really great how fluid it was, but it was also hilarious because of how into it he was. Trevor's other friend, Cathy (Tori Whaples), also had some humorous moments. I loved how obsessed Cathy was with Trevor, and it was hilarious how she came on to him. She would act like she was being subtle, but she wasn't at all; it was gold. She had to take out her rubber bands whenever she thought she might kiss someone; that was so hilarious and awkward because she would say, "hold on just a second" and then take out the rubber bands and resume the conversation so that it could be romantic in the moment. Also there was a scene about the priest, Father Joe (Jarod Zimmerman), who came to talk to Trevor about Trevor's feelings. It was so hilarious and uncomfortable how detailed he was about what sex is like. It was just perfectly awkward.

People who would like this show are people who like being weird, Diana Ross, and studying underwear catalogs. I think that people should definitely go see this show. There were so many things I loved about it. It is a such an amazing and unique new musical. I loved it!

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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