There are few things as exhilarating as seeing new works take shape on stage. On Monday, May 16th San Diego was the place for the concert premiere of the new show “boy: a new musical” by conceiver, writer, and co-lyricist Jonathan Sangster. This premiere allowed theatre lovers to hear the first songs and some dialogue from this show.
Performed at the San Diego Musical Theatre stage, the cast was filled with talented performers from San Diego and Broadway to bring the work written by Sangster, along with composer-lyricists Matthew Hornbeck and Rachel King to life. Featuring 13 songs from the show, the concert gave the audience a nice overview of the story and the songs to expect in a full-length show.
In a previous interview about the piece, Sangster said that the show was inspired by Peter Pan and that the root cause of that loss of innocence and distrust of adults could be traced back to his life. While the show may have roots in Peter Pan, this show is not a simple story, delving into emotionally complex themes like family, grief, faith, vulnerability, and betrayal by those you trust.
Teenagers Peter and his sister Gwen played by Jacob Haren and Ari Afsar respectively, find themselves moving to a new town after the sudden and slightly mysterious death of their father. As their mother, played by Nancy Carr, grieves and tries to shield the kids from the harsher truths about their Father, they all try to find their place in their new community and church.
The music, orchestrated by Daniel Klintworth and performed by Max Wagner, Michael Pearce, and Brian Dall under the musical direction of Taylor Peckham, is a pop/rock-influenced score. The concert featured some wonderful ballads and offered multiple moments to showcase their vocals. The score is compelling and offers some lovely harmonies and thoughtful lyrics. Some stand-out numbers were “Second Stars, Second Chances”, “Fly Away”, “The Day The Rooster Didn’t Crow”, and “Run Away Boy.”
Haren and Afsar as Peter and Gwen brought exceptional vocals, and solid emotional connections to the roles which made for an excellent foundation for the show. Other standout performers included Robert Townsend as Pastor James and Bethany Slmoka as Peter’s girlfriend Lily.
“boy: a new musical” is still in the development stage, and the concert was a fundraiser to help them continue to work on the show and present it to industry professionals in New York. You can follow the progress and help them raise funds at their website www.boyanewmusical.com
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