By Victoria Dammer
When Trevor (Holden William Hagelberger) opens his mouth and belts out the first song “Do You Know/On With the Show,” the audience realizes they will enjoy this production, no matter what the storyline is. The fantastic voice and natural acting talents of young Hagelberger are on display throughout this two-act play, set in fictional Lakeview Junior High School in 1981.
Trevor loves music, the theater and struggles with his sexual identity. He is an obsessed admirer of Diana Ross (Yasmeen Sulieman), mimicking her persona when she appears on stage to sing some of her hit songs. Ross’s posters adorn Trevor’s bedroom, and just the thought of her provides support when he needs it the most.
Trevor is the typical teenage boy; young, impressionable, naive, and sensitive as we all once were. His quirky mannerisms cannot be labeled, which leads his classmates to mock him for being “girly.” As the audience, we love his peculiar quirks. Most of all, we love to hear Hagelberger sing and watch him perform.
Women’s lingerie catalogs fascinate Trevor’s best friend Walter (Mark Aguirre), who tries to turn him on to using the magazine’s allure for sexual pleasure. One of the funniest scenes in the play is when Trevor’s mother catches the boy’s gawking at the pictures, and it will remind you of stories from back in the 80s when young men hid Playboy magazines under the bed.
The gym teacher forces Trevor to participate in sports competitions at school with Pinky (Sammy Dell), the hot jock dream boy of the high school. Trevor is not a natural athlete, and he thinks highly of Pinky. He keeps a notebook with his private thoughts about Pinky, filled with admiration for him. Unfortunately, the notebook gets shared around the school. Rumors spread, and the other students are unkind toward Trevor. Most of us in attendance have felt the pains from being bullied at one time in our lives, and we can sympathize with the mix of emotions Trevor has when he comes face-to-face with ridicule.
The audience laughed heartedly when Father Joe/Trevor’s father (Jarrod Zimmerman) and his mother (Sally Wilfert) tried to “reform” him and make him “normal.” Yet Trevor can’t escape the hatefulness of the students in his class. He tries to “improve” his condition by using a homemade shock therapy machine to reset himself to an ordinary kid. Finally, he tries to kill himself with aspirin.
Trevor wakes in the hospital and meets candy striper Jack (Aaron Alcaraz), who experienced similar bullying when he was younger because of his sexuality. Jack encourages Trevor to look to the future, where his life will be what he wants it to be and not what others want him to be. Jack’s message is a powerful reminder for us to be ourselves. It takes maturity to gather self-confidence, and Jack assures Trevor he will fulfill his dreams if he lives his life the way he wants to and not by other people’s standards.
Trevor returns to school, where he must compete with Pinky again. Trevor stands up to him with his own words; “You don’t even know me. But I know you now, and in ten years, you’re going to be just the same. And I’ll be so much weirder than you can even imagine. And I can’t wait.”
The packed house erupted with a standing ovation for Hagelberger’s outstanding performance and the entire cast. Trevor: The Musical is a play well worth seeing.
Theater goer Patricia Schneider commented, “If he’s (Hagelberger) this good now, I can only imagine what the future will bring in his career.” In ten years, Hagelberger won’t be weird. He will be a star.
Trevor: The Musical: The musical’s book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick Davis. Direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince. Trevor: The Musical is based on the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor directed by Peggy Rajski, produced by Randy Stone, and written by Celeste Lecesne.
WITH: Mark Aguirre (ensemble), Aaron Alcaraz (Jack), Ava Briglia (ensemble), Sammy Dell (Pinky), Tyler Joseph Gay (Swing), Holden William Hagelberger (Trevor), Ellie Kim (ensemble), Diego Lucano Jason), Alyssa Marvin (Cathy), Isabel Media Frannie), Echo Deva Picone (Mary), Dan Rosales (Swing), Aryan Simhadri (Walter), Yasmeen Sulieman (Diana Ross), Sally Wilfert (Mom/Mrs. Kerr), and Jarrod Zimmerman (Dad/Father Joe).
Scenic design by Donyale Werle; costume design by Mara Blumenfeld; lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski; sound design by Brian Ronan and Cody Spencer; music director Matt Deitchman; orchestrator by Greg Pliska; casting by Tara Rubin Casting.
Winner of the Jeff Award for Best New Work, the Pre-New York Engagement of Trevor: The Musical was presented by Writers Theater in a special agreement with John Ambrosino/Josie Bray/Mark Woods through the Literary Development Initiative, with generous support 0f David and Mary Winton Green, Glencoe, IL; Kathryn M. Lipuma, Executive Director.
Trevor: The Musical opened Wednesday, November 10, at Stage 42 in New York City. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.
Ticket information: Tickets on sale at TrevorTheMusical.com or Telecharge.com by phone at 212-239-6200 and online at www.Telecharge.com. Tickets are also available in person at the Stage 42 box office. Beginning November 10, box office opens at 12 pm Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays). Tickets for groups of ten or more are available through Broadway Inbound at www.broadwayinbound.com or by calling 866-302-0995.