Review Roundup: TREVOR THE MUSICAL at Writers Theatre in Chicago
The world premiere of TREVOR the musical is now playing at Writers Theatre. The production is directed by Marc Bruni (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway), with book and lyrics by Dan Collins, music by Julianne Wick Davis, music direction by Matt Deitchman, orchestrations by Greg Pliska and choreography by Josh Prince, by special arrangement with U Rock Theatricals.
Meet Trevor, a 13-year-old boy in 1981 whose vibrant imagination drives a turbulent journey of self-discovery. As he deals with adolescence and all that goes with it, Trevor begins to explore what it means to be himself, influenced by his friends, parents, and his musical idol.
Based on the story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film, the charity and the national movement, TREVOR the musical is a coming-of-age story about identity, emerging sexuality and the struggles of growing up in a world that may not be ready for you. This world premiere musical is directed by Marc Bruni, who helmed the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway.
The Trevor Project was created as a result of the Academy Award-winning film that also inspired TREVOR the musical. The Trevor Project is the nation's only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. Visit www.TheTrevorProject.org.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones): Trevor, the hero of the very promising, exceptionally timely and consistently artful new musical from writer Dan Collins and composer Julianne Wick Davis at Writers Theatre, is no ordinary kid. He's already saved young peoples' lives since his first appearance in an Academy Award-winning short film led to the creation of the eponymous Trevor Project, an ongoing suicide-prevention hotline for LBGTQ kids. That gives this fictional teen what the business suits call "pre-awareness," which should help "Trevor the Musical" win a good deal of much deserved love in its world premiere in Glencoe. I suspect Trevor's story of how an ill-chosen middle school crush leads to his triumph over a soul-crushing humiliation will turn into the biggest hit in this theater's history.
Variety (Steven Oxman): It's an intriguingly unique mix of original and jukebox numbers, and the production certainly found the right director in Marc Bruni, who showed with "Beautiful" that he understands how pre-existing songs can inter-relate naturally with a story. In the case of "Trevor," Bruni gets to go overboard without losing hold of the genuine when Trevor's fantasies take flight, helped by set designer Donyale Werle ("Peter and the Starcatcher"), who makes an awful lot happen by moving Trevor's bed around, and choreographer Josh Prince ("Shrek The Musical"), who expertly incorporates pizzazz or adolescent awkwardness into movement, depending on the moment.
Chicago Sun Times (Hedy Weiss): Driven by a sensationally talented cast of professional teenage actors, the show stars the supremely confident Eli Tokash, who arrives here with Broadway, TV and film credits and remarkable singing, dancing and acting skills. And though filled with recognizable stock characters, all these actors' distinctive personalities memorably supply a third dimension under the expert guidance of director Marc Bruni (the hand behind Broadway's "Beautiful, the Carole King Musical").
BizJournals (Lewis Lazare): That said, however, the show's strengths are undercut to a large degree by Dan Collins' book, which badly needs to be tightened in the first act and provided with a better-developed story thru-line in the second act, where Trevor attempts suicide before coming to a new realization about who is he and how to move forward. A 90-minute version of "Trevor" might in fact be much more watchable than the two-act version now on stage.