Monday, March 4, 2013

Edges, a song cycle by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Austin Theatre Project, March 1 - 10, 2013

austin live theatre review
Edges, Austin Theatre Project TX

 by Dr. David Glen Robinson

The Austin Theatre Project (ATP) production of Edges by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul gave Austin beautiful music and performances guaranteed to please audiences. Problems with the production and Pasek’s and Paul’s relatively new and somewhat uneven show shouldn't certainly not scare away ticket buyers, certainly not the heart-and-soul musical theatre fanatics who live for it.

The program notes were about the music and nothing but the music. They explained the show as a song cycle in which all the songs stand by themselves, tell their own stories and are bound only loosely to an overall theme. The ATP production played the impressive music with three pieces; keyboards played by musical director David Blackburn, bass played by Kyle Welch and a drum set played by long term Austin percussionist Terri Lord. She put the Austin in the show, definitely. ATP assembled an exquisite corps of singers: Joey Banks, Sara Burke, Brian Losoya and Taylor Moessinger

The venerable Dougherty Arts Center theatre has surprisingly good acoustics, and while the singers wore pin-mikes, they would have had no difficulty reaching the back seats without them. Singing miked makes it easier on the voice to sing through a long, complex show, but it also may tempt the performer to go for power and not make choices for more nuanced and other-shaped tonalities (pear and other shapes). At various times, all the singers succumbed to the lure of power, but at other times they made the richer choices. Notably, Brian Losoya and Taylor Moessinger made and succeeded at intricate choices to create harmonies in the ensemble. The results were simply a pleasure to hear and by themselves were worth the ticket price. Credit goes to the singers and musical director Blackburn.

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