PIQUA — Tom Westfall is known for setting the bar high, sometimes even pushing the envelope, when it comes to the musicals he directs at Piqua High School. His latest endeavor — described as “a song cycle” — is a departure even for him.
Instead of the usual large cast and chorus, “Edges” features just five performers, all of them PHS seniors, and will be presented as a “stage on stage,” meaning that the audience will actually be seated on the stage, Westfall explained.
“This will provide a very intimate setting and allow the singers to be up close to connect to the audience,” he said.
Another thing that makes the production different than its predecessors is the fact that there is no spoken dialogue, Westfall noted.
A longtime love for the music to “Edges” drove Westfall to choose it as the PHS spring production. “The songwriting team of Benji Pasek and Justin Paul are the composers. They are also part of the Oscar-winning team behind the movie ‘La La Land.’ I thought with their recent success, it would be a great way to show case their talent,” he said.
“Edges” was written by Pasek and Paul in 2005, when they were 19-year-old undergraduates in musical theater at the University of Michigan. They decided to write their own show after being dissatisfied with the roles they were assigned in productions at the school.
The plot of “Edges” centers around five young people (Cheyenne Clark, Darby Wright, Kelsey Painter, Braydon Watterson, and Kelsey Sotello) and how they navigate life and love, Westfall said.
“It is a plot line everyone will be able to relate to in some way. It deals with all the emotions that come along with growing up and figuring out who you are and how you relate to others,” he said.
“There are songs that will make you laugh and songs that will make you cry. I think everyone will leave relating to one of the stories told by the singers.”
The show’s most famous song, “Be My Friend,” has come to be commonly known as the “Facebook song.”
The musical is co-directed by Susan Bollinger. Carol Palmer is the accompanist and leads Franklin Strebb on bass and Rick Reiss on drums.
“Edges” will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 4-5. Seating is limited. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at PHS during school hours. For more information, call (937) 773-6314.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341