An exploration into Rebel Theatre’s next show
There is a wonderful dichotomy when putting on a show that is unknown to the majority of people. For the few musical theatre buffs out there, Pasek and Paul may seem like household names but for the rest of us, our musical theatre vocabulary doesn’t extend beyond the words Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cats. Putting on a show like Edges is an awesomely scary venture, because it allows audiences to see something new, something challenging, something where they will leave the theatre, much like the end of a Game of Thrones episode, with more questions than answers. Bringing a new show to Auckland can also be a double edged sword, providing a chance to present new work but potentially at the cost of audiences not knowing what to expect or whether to come. For this reason, we thought we’d give you an inside look at our upcoming show in July, Edges.
A bit of background
Edges is a musical written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul in 2005 when they were 19-year-old undergraduates in musical theatre at the University of Michigan. They decided to write their own show after being unhappy with the roles they were assigned in musical theatre productions at the school.
Since then, Pasek and Paul have been Tony nominees – some of their works include A Christmas Story, James and the Giant Peach, Dogfight (which has was seen on the Auckland stage in a brilliant award-winning production by Auckland Music Theatre in 2015) and more recently Dear Evan Hansen. They’ve had their original songs featured on NBC‘s Smash and were winners of the 2007 Jonathan Larson Award, named after the late Rent composer. Not bad for ten years’ work!
Edges is a song cycle about coming of age, growth and self-discovery. The songs deal with different issues and the ‘edges’ faced by many of us today.
Director Jason Te Mete says “Edges is about those points in your life when you’re on the brink of something – whether it’s ending a relationship, knowing that you need to change something, letting yourself love or finding self-acceptance. It’s told through a series of vignettes – self-contained stories told through song in a way that makes stories accessible to everyone. Each one of us will take something different from it, so everyone should leave from it having connected it.”
Our Edges: Why it’s relevant to us
Edges has been performed all around the globe and we’re pretty damn excited to be bringing it to New Zealand. We’ve been talking directly with Pasek and Paul about making this story relevant to the New Zealand audience, which has led to them graciously allowing us to adapt the work to make it relevant for Kiwis – a pretty unique opportunity!
It’s about storytelling and speaking to real situations that people face every day. The last few years have seen several tragic deaths and situations where young people have felt on the brink of something or at a point of despair and it’s with this context that it feels even more important to be putting on Edges. In the words of the show, “Let go of feeling you are anything but beautiful. Let go of thinking you can’t do this on your own. Let go of being scared that you might not be good enough. Let go of saying you were meant to be alone.” These are just some of the edges we face. They are universal. They are shared experiences and we need to be supporting one another through them.
What you need to do
Can I tell you much more about the show? Not really. Go online and Google or YouTube it. Hell, even Bing or Yahoo it (if you are fond of terrible search engines). Listen to some of the songs online. And book a ticket. Seriously, book a ticket. It’s a beautifully moving show that you won’t want to miss.
The New Zealand Premiere of Edges opens on 7 July and runs until 16 July. Tickets are available at iTicket. Edges stars a stellar cast of Leanne Howell, Jonathan Martin, Awhimai Fraser and Tainui Kuru.