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OC Premiere Of Pasek & Paul's EDGES Marks Return To Live Performances at Chance Theater

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Benj Pasek & Justin Paul are the Tony and Academy Award-winning duo behind Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman.

Chance Theater is excited to announce that the Orange County premiere of Pasek and Paul's musical, Edges will be the third show in its 23rd Anniversary Season, and the first show presented live and in-person since shutting its doors on March 13, 2020. This clever and charming musical is directed by Resident Artist James Michael McHale and music direction is by Resident Artist Robyn Manion. The show is performing July 9 - August 8, 2021.

Before they wrote Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, The Greatest Showman, Dogfight, and many other modern musical classics, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote a thrilling song cycle about four burgeoning adults asking classic coming-of-age questions about love, commitment, identity, and meaning. For the first time in Orange County, see how the Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning song team started their journey - with a charming, witty and honest examination of adulthood that explores what happens when we're teetering on the edge of the rest of our lives. Please note that this show contains adult language.

Back in 2005, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were undergraduates at the University of Michigan who were feeling dissatisfied with the roles they were being cast in for their college shows. Deciding to do something about it, Pasek and Paul (who had casually written only a couple of songs together at this point) decided to produce their own show -- an original piece called Edges that would be made up entirely of songs they would write and would star fellow college students. They said in an interview with Musicnotes that they produced the show so their parents would have something more to watch when they flew out to visit them. The response to Edges was very positive and it was decided to continue developing the piece. After 30 productions at colleges across the United States -- and detailed feedback from established composers Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q) -- the show had its professional premiere in 2007 at the Capital Repertory Theatre in New York. The show has since been performed all over the U.S. and on five different continents.

Pasek and Paul's career trajectory began to sharply rise soon after. In 2006, the pair became the youngest recipients to have ever won the Jonathan Larson Award for emerging songwriters. They wrote the scores for James and The Giant Peach and Dogfight (both of which have been previously produced at the Chance), among others, and were nominated for their first Tony Award for contributing to the score of A Christmas Story, A Musical. But the world really became aware of the dynamic duo with the 1-2-3 punch of Dear Evan Hansen (6 Tony Awards, including Best Original Score), La La Land (6 Academy Awards, including Best Original Song), and The Greatest Showman (Golden Globe for Original Song, Academy Award nomination).

Director James Michael McHale said, "All of the songs in this show feature characters that are on the figurative edge of an important moment in their lives. Many of them are facing an important decision or reeling from a decision that was just made for them. Edges is a show that reminds us that there are always many stories. It's a show full of real, complicated humans coming from different places, different backgrounds, and circumstances, that I think are all ultimately filled with hope for connection and meaning." McHale went on to say, "What a way to celebrate coming back to live theater with a show that is so filled with stories that we can really relate to. Oh, and I think the music is incredible."

In addition to McHale and music director Robyn Manion, the production team for Edges includes scenic designer Bradley Kaye, lighting designer Chris Henrriquez, costume designer Christine Perez, sound designer Hunter Moody, and stage manager Nicole Schlitt. The production will star Sarah Pierce (Ragtime), Elizabeth Curtin (Chance debut), Jewell Holloway (Chance debut), and Tyler Marshall (James and The Giant Peach).

The health and safety of Chance Theater's artists and audiences remain the top priority. Therefore, Edges will be performed within the existing state, county, and city health mandates. In addition, the Chance is requiring all patrons to wear a face-covering at all times when indoors. For those who are even more cautious, Chance Theater is offering a select number of "Fully Vaccinated Performances" that will require all of the above, proof of vaccination, and minimal social distancing. To read full details about our current health and safety guidelines, visit www.ChanceTheater.com/safety.


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