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November 10, 2021
Middle school was never this much fun
Review: ‘Trevor: The Musical’
Sammy Dell (left, center), Holden William Hagelberger (right), and the company of Trevor: The Musical. Credit: Joan Marcus.

For 13-year-old Trevor (Holden William Hagelberger), the annual Lakeview Junior High talent show isn't just a talent show: it's a launch pad for his showbiz career. When his one-man production of Fame fails to get in, he hits on a new scheme: choreographing the football team's dance number. Pinky (Sammy Dell), star of the team, is all for it since his crush thinks the dance is cool. But his teammates, afraid of looking stupid and jealous of Trevor's blossoming relationship with Pinky, aren't so sure. When one of the team finds Trevor's diary and discovers a romantic letter to Pinky inside, Trevor's shot at stardom is over--and so is his reputation.

As rumors about Trevor's sexual orientation spiral out of control, things quickly go from bad to worse. But one of the charms of Trevor: The Musical, directed by Marc Bruni at Stage 42, is that, while it touches on potentially tragic subjects, it never loses its cool for too long. Case in point: following the talent show disaster, a hilarious musical number sees Trevor burning candles in his room when the ensemble comes in, dressed like the Addams Family at a funeral, and laments his ruined life in melodramatic tones.

That gleefully tragic moment is just one of many treats in this candy shop of a show. With delightful dance numbers, catchy songs, and a heavy dose of showbizzy pizazz, Trevor combines a modern sensitivity with a golden age musical style. The result is a big-hearted new show that's entertaining, tender, and best of all, original.

A cast of mostly young actors are another fun ingredient in Trevor's successful recipe. While all are consummate performers, Holden William Hagelberger shines in the title role. Whether lip syncing Diana Ross, conducting his "funeral" ensemble from bed, or worming his way out of uncomfortable conversations, Hagelberger comes across as open-hearted and endearingly innocent.

Speaking of Diana Ross, Trevor's idol, or rather, his imaginary version of her, is also a big presence. Modeling a different sparkly outfit each time she appears, Diana (Yasmeen Sulieman) acts as Trevor's guiding star, remaining loyal to her "biggest fan" throughout his struggles and heartaches. She's just one of the clever stops this show pulls out. Dan Collins' script and lyrics are smart, funny, and sweet; and when coupled with Julianne Wick Davis' upbeat music and Josh Prince's fabulous choreography, it's hard to imagine a more adorable show.

Compared to similar coming of age school stories, Trevor is something like a mash-up of Dear Evan Hansen and Be More Chill (without the computer taking over your brain part) but while school musicals have been done nearly to death, and although Trevor is in fact based on an award-winning short film, it manages to stand out for its originality and winning sense of humor.

Fair warning: Trevor may make you smile big-time. In today's anxious, fear-ridden social and political climate, this unabashedly joyful, celebratory show is both a welcome reprieve and a saving grace.

Watch a musical montage for Trevor: The Musical below.

Tickets for 'Trevor: The Musical' are on sale now at the link below. Tickets are also available in person at the Stage 42 box office.

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Written by: Erin Kahn
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