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Premiere of 'Edges' Launches Summerfest

June 2, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Summerfest 2006 summer theatre season will kick off with the Chicago premiere of “Edges,” a song cycle created by the new songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

“Edges” will be performed at 8 p.m. June 22, June 23 and June 24, and 2 p.m. June 25, at the University's Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. It will be produced by Northwestern's Theatre and Interpretation Center and sponsored by the University's American Music Theatre Project (AMTP). For information about AMTP visit <www.amtp.northwestern.edu>.

Pasek and Paul are rapidly emerging as a new songwriting team with a fresh voice in contemporary musical theatre. Collaborating since their freshman year, they are musical theatre graduates from the University of Michigan. In spring 2005, the duo premiered a revue of their work “Edges.” Originally billed as a one-night event at the University of Michigan, the material was so well received it spurred performances in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Connecticut and New York City. “Edges” has since been performed across the country more than 20 times and produced at various locations including The Boston Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon University and New York University.

The production follows the pivotal moments in the lives of four distinct characters -- two young men and two young women -- as each attempts to break free and discover the power of their true potential. The four cast members and the show's director are Northwestern music theatre students.

Director Travis Greisler describes “Edges” as “a refreshing song cycle about the challenges of coming of age that is filled with diverse music and energy. A song cycle is similar to a cabaret performance in that each song tends to tell a story -- and all the songs share a similar theme. In this case, the theme is the challenges of relationships and the many ways in which people are connected.”

Since there is no book, there are no spoken lines. The entire show is sung, and the composers have allowed Greisler to arrange the order of the songs to best communicate the theme.

The show's four vocalists perform music that ranges from pop to gospel and includes intimate solos and high-spirited group numbers. Most of the songs they sing tell stories.

“I believe Pasek and Paul are going to have very bright futures in American musical theatre,” said Dominic Missimi, director of Northwestern's Music Theatre Program. “They speak for a modern generation of young people but also have great respect for the traditional art form. 'Edges' is a wonderful forum for their talent, and this production is an exciting opportunity to discover their music before they become household names.”

Tickets are priced from $10 to $25. To purchase tickets, call the box office at  (847) 491-7282.

Topics: Campus Life