‘Edges’ at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School by Miriam Urquhart

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It was certainly an edgy night at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s student-directed production of Edges.

(Left to right) Tanya Silverstein and Danie Rodriguez.  Photo by Gabe Rodriguez-Fuller.
(Left to right) Tanya Silverstein and Danie Rodriguez. Photo by Gabe Rodriguez-Fuller.

Edges is not your average piece of musical theater. This beautifully composed piece takes the audience on an emotional journey. Each song deals with a different human experiences such as falling in love, growing apart, finding one’s identity, and even making friends over Facebook. Four performers – Sarah Engelhardt, Rees Powell, Danie Rodriguez, and Tanya Silverstein – play a variety of nameless characters trying to make their lives and relationships work. The stories behind each song are rich and complex, while the messages are loud and clear. The show will leave audiences moved to explore their deeper emotions and live life on the edge, because otherwise “we’re just coasting.” The show has no dialogue, which increases the focus on the wonderful music.

Composers Justin Paul and Benji Pasek’s use of harmonies and witty, touching lyrics make the entire show vivid and compelling. It is easy to relate to most of the situations presented in Edges. They take us back to basics and show that people can still feel something pure and real in this fast-paced, materialized world.

For her first time directing, Director Leah Platt manages to put together an overall delightful production. The simple, effective staging gives plenty of room for the performers and music to stand out on their own. The transitions between songs are fluid and polished. Everything really reflects the show’s message to look beyond the surface and get to the raw feelings inside of us.

Lighting Designer Aaron Bobeck’s lighting design is very colorful. The colors change for each song to match each emotion being brought into view. It is especially effective during the number “In Short,” when Silverstein’s character suddenly becomes angry and the lighting abruptly changes to bright red to match her emotion.

Set Designers Chris Trotman and Hiwot Hailu put together a very basic, yet advantageous set. The concept of less is more comes into play and allows for many powerful moments in the staging.

I was incredibly impressed by the talent shown in these four young performers. Sarah Engelhardt is simply charming in all of her numbers. Her voice and presence light up the room through most of the show, and she is particularly sweet during the song “Man of My Dreams.”

Danie Rodriguez’s beautiful pop-rock sound shines during “Boy With Dreams.” He also shows fantastic chemistry with Engelhardt in the lovable duet “I Hmm You.”

Tanya Silverstein displays great versatility. She is able to play many different types of characters from hysterical and over the top in “In Short” to confused and sorrowful in “Lying There.” Her voice is stunning and vivid.

Rees Powell’s voice is strong and mature. It helps bring out his character’s hope and desperation for his mother in the inspirational song “I Once Knew.” When all four of these fantastic performers are put together, a spark of magic surges through the audience and all ears are captivated by the gorgeous harmonies, especially during the finally.

 (L-R) Danie Rodriguez, Tanya Silverstein, Rees Powell, and Sarah Engelhardt. Photo by  Gabe Rodriguez-Fuller.
(L-R) Danie Rodriguez, Tanya Silverstein, Rees Powell, and Sarah Engelhardt. Photo by Gabe Rodriguez-Fuller.

Edges is an enthralling, innovative, and simply wondrous piece of theater.

Running Time: Approximately one hour and thirty minutes, with no intermission.

Edges plays its final production tonight March 16th, 2013 at 7:30 PM at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School – 4301 East-West Highway in Bethesda, MD. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For future Bethesda-Chevy Chase productions, go to their website.