Edges: A Song Cycle Explores Young Adulthood Through Music
In 2005, nineteen-year-old musical theater performers, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, were unhappy with roles they were being given in college and decided to write their own production that more closely related to their generation. The pair has since gained numerous awards and critical acclaim for their professional productions like A Christmas Story: The Musical and Dogfight: the Musical, but it was that original production, entitled, Edges: A Song Cycle, which defined their young adulthood and truly ignited their careers.
Now, another group of adolescents brings Pasek and Paul’s original collaboration to Temecula audiences, when the Fine Arts Network Theatre Company, in association with the Temecula Preparatory School’s Patriot Players, present Edges: A Song Cycle on select dates in April and May at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
“A song cycle is a musical that has loosely related songs that are tied together thematically,” Director Joseph Arreola said. “This specific song cycle focuses on the young adult years, the early twenties, and deals with relationships and hopes and dreams.”
Song cycles, like Edges, differ from traditional musicals in that they focus on a series of related songs with similar themes or situations, but with no elaborate sets or storyline.
Edges: A Song Cycle focuses on four characters navigating their way from the teenage to adult years, through songs about love, commitment, and finding one’s own identity. A song entitled “Be My Friend,” addresses the complicated world of social media and has been dubbed by the musical theater community as “The Facebook Song.”
The performers for Arreola’s production, each students at Temecula Preparatory School, are already well-versed in the musical theater genre; each having starred in numerous, well-received, productions.
“The cast is comprised of three young men and three young women,” he said. “They are award-winning actors and singers whom are passionate about telling a story.”
For the Patriot Players production of Edges: A Song Cycle, the three male performers are Andrew Backlund, Matthew Arriaga, and Nick Ray. The female performers are Jaya Mapleton, Gabrielle Adner, and Katelyn Walsh.
Since its first professional production in 2007, Edges: A Song Cycle has been performed over 100 times, in theaters spanning across five continents. For the Temecula production, the 48-seat Merc theater, on the Old Town Temecula Community Theater campus, was the more fitting venue for the specialized work.
“The characters are conveying some of the most personal aspects of themselves and the intimate nature of the venue really aids in the ambiance of feeling a part of their intimate emotional journey,” Arreola said. “The show deals with love, loss, hope, determination, regret, and new beginnings. Come prepared to laugh, cry, and be amazed by these young, talented performers.”
Edges: A Song Cycle deals with some mature subject matter and contains adult language, so it is not intended for young children. For tickets and information, please visit the Old Town Temecula Community Theater website.