Presented by Geneseo’s Department of Music, “Page to Stage: Edges” premiered from Wednesday Sept. 7-9 in Doty Recital Hall. According to music director and lecturer of music Don Kot—who directed the production with professor of English and theater Melanie Blood—“Page to Stage” brings freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors together to cohesively work on a project. Regardless of where these students are in their college careers, they came together and combined ideas to create this show for the Geneseo community.
“Edges” is a contemporary song-cycle exploring the universally treacherous young-adult years. It features music by Justin Paul and lyrics by Benj Pasek, who were only 19 and 20-year-old students at the University of Michigan, respectively, when they collaborated to create this performance piece, which premiered in 2005. Paul and Pasek have gone on to receive Tony awards for their other work as songwriters for Broadway musicals “A Christmas Story: The Musical” and “Dogfight.”
According to Kot, “Edges” revolves around coming-of-age themes and the questions, “Who am I?” “What’s in my way?” and “What do I want to become?”
The opening song “Become” was sung by the whole group, specifically featuring musical theater major sophomore Brian Sousis, psychology major senior Nicole Eras, musical theater and English double major senior Rebecca Leville and education major senior Ben Reiner.
The coming-of-age theme was especially prevalent when the performers sang “But still I smile because I need to look strong/And all the while I keep soldiering on/I want to see me from where I begun/But I’m afraid to be/Who I am, who I want to become” from the song “Become.”
This verse displays the feeling for which this music-cycle is named. These characters are struggling with the fact that they are no longer children, but are not yet respected as—or even feeling prepared to be—adults. They are on the “edge” between childhood and adulthood. In the show, they work through their fear of failure and making the wrong choices.
Throughout “Edges,” the musical numbers touched upon a deep sense of loneliness and a longing for connection. Many of the songs highlighted how these young adults are attempting to chart the territory of romantic relationships, and just as they are beginning the relationships, they are challenged. In one instance, a sudden pregnancy rocks a relationship, and a profession of love threatens another.
“Caitlyn and Haley”—sung by musical theater and communication double major sophomore Erin Burris and musical theater major junior Jessica Murphy—was immensely relatable for anyone in the audience who has siblings. Younger sister Caitlyn bemoans her older sister’s behavior as she begins to lie to her parents, smoke and date.
Older sister Haley sings of how her little sister has become annoying and seems much younger to her now more than ever. In reality, the sisters are feeling the tension of growing up. They are no longer able to relate to each other in the same ways; instead, they long for the relationship that they shared in the past.
Beautifully supported by choreography, the performance captured countless moments that young adults face as they long for times past, yearn for the realization of the future and struggle with how to use their time wisely.