Reviewed by Kevin Pollack
Based on the story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film, the charity and the national movement, TREVOR the musical is a coming-of-age story about identity, emerging sexuality and the struggles of growing up in a world that may not be ready for you. This world premiere musical is directed by Marc Bruni, who helmed the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway.
The Trevor Project was created as a result of the Academy Award-winning film that also inspiredTREVOR the musical. The Trevor Project is the nation’s only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. www.TheTrevorProject.org.
It now it has been adapted for the stage by Dan Collins, who wrote the book and lyrics and Julianne Wick Davis, who wrote the music. The new musical, which began previews August 9, will now run through October 8. It was originally scheduled through September 17 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, before initially extending through October 1.
The musical, which is set in 1981, concerns 13-year-old Trevor, whose imagination drives a turbulent journey of self-discovery. As he deals with adolescence, Trevor begins to explore what it means to be himself, influenced by his friends, parents—and Diana Ross.
Starring as Trevor, is Eli Tokash, a brilliant young actor who has performed on Broadway as Peter Llewelen Davies in Finding Neverland and Theo in Pippin. The outstanding ensemble of kids were made up of Declan Desmond as the charming Pinky, Maya Lou Hlava as Frannie, Eloise Lushina as Mary, Reilly Oh as Jason, Matthew Uzarraga as the hilarious Walter, Tori Whaples as Cathy, Jerome Riley, Jr., Justin O’Brien, Carly Meyer, Isabel Kaegi and Adriana Burks. Doubling as Trevor with Tokash is Graydon Peter Yosowitz.
The amazing adult ensemble included Sophie Grimm as Mom, Mrs. Kerr and others, Jarrod Zimmerman as Dad, Father Joe and others, the beautiful and fantastic Salisha Thomas as Diana Ross, Jhardon DiShon Milton as Jack, Timothy Eidman, Nathaniel Braga, and understudies Nick Graffagna, Will Skrip, Ninah Snipes, and Elizabeth Stenholt.
I loved every minute of this show. Julianne Wick Davis’ music is fantastic and made just right with this cast along with memorable Diana Ross hits like “Theme From Mahogany,” “It’s My Turn,” “Upside Down,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Endless Love,” and brings down the house with the company at the end of the show with a rainbow-themed “I’m Coming Out.” . Unfortunately there was no song list in the program, so I can’t tell you what songs I liked better than others; but every song was great and helped move the story from a 15-minute short film to a 90+ minute musical, filling in all the gaps.
Director, Marc Bruni, directed this show to perfection, and it was perfect for such an intimate space. Other notable mentions go to music director Matt Deitchman, choreographer Josh Prince, orchestrator Greg Pliska, scenic designer Donyale Werle, assistant director Tyrone Phillips, assistant music director Ellen Morris and assistant choreographer Aubrey Adams.
I really hope Trevor the Musical goes to Broadway after this run, as it certainly defines what LGBTQ+ kids still deal with today. Everything is real when it comes to Trevor, and the rest of the world needs to see how great a kid Trevor really is. Run – don’t walk to this production that is already selling out!
Tickets are available in person at the box office, by calling them at 847-242-6000 or by going to www.writerstheatre.org.