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June 21, 2016:

Edges reviewed by Rob Stevens

edges

The composing team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul received Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Musical for 2013’s A Christmas Story. Their earlier off-Broadway effort Dogfight won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and recently made its area premiere thanks to Santa Ana’s Chance Theatre. They have also written a musical version of James and the Giant Peach and their Dear Evan Hansen, a recent sensation off-Broadway, is expected to be a highlight of the next Broadway season. Oh, and they composed songs for the second season of NBC-TV’s Smash. Thanks to the Chromolume Theatre, Hollywood Fringe Festival theatregoers can catch their 2005 song cycle Edges, which has had over 200 productions in the past decade. It’s very easy to determine that these 14 songs are the work of a young pair of writers finding their way through the tropes of the musical theatre idiom. The songs were written by young people for young people about young people’s issues. It doesn’t have the depth and maturity of Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle Songs for a New World , which was given a stunning production at the 2014 Fringe. Edges covers everything from “Be My Friend,” an ode to Face Book, to father issues in “One Reason.” “Man of My Dreams” is a straight girl’s lament about the love of her life who just happens to be gay while “In Short” is a very bitter song about an ex. Director Lauren J. Peters doesn’t have much room to maneuver her foursome around the tiny stage and hasn’t given them all that much to do besides sing. But it is a pleasant way to spend an hour. The women, Melody Ricketts and Caroline Pugliese, possess the stronger voices and more assured stage presences. Andres Ramirez and Justin W. Yu don’t really have the vocal chops for some of their numbers but they are young, charming and aren’t embarrassing. Musical Director/accompanist Daniel Yokomizo gives the score a good reading. (There are two more performances but with some cast changes scheduled at Fringe and then a fuller production is planned by Chromolume later this year.)

3stars

Complex Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 24 & 25. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3648

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