KIDSTAGE revisits popular musical ‘Trust Me’

January 7, 2014

By David Hayes

Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE TeenSelect program’s latest production, “Trust Me,” brings the musical full circle for several of those involved.

Regan Morris, a 16-year-old student at Issaquah High School, has been involved in KIDSTAGE since she was 9. Her brother Collin played the original lead role in the musical’s debut in 2006. She is excited to play the primary love interest in the tale.

By Greg Farrar Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

By Greg Farrar
Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

“This was my favorite production my brother was in,” Morris said. “He was such an inspiration to me and was the reason I got into theater.”

She added the central story of “Trust Me” is just as relevant today as when a group of teens wrote it with the help of Village Theatre’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Brian Yorkey in 2006.

“It deals with issues that teens have,” Morris said. “And who knows about teen issues better than teens?”

“Trust Me” is actually a sequel to another KIDSTAGE production, “Last Exit,” a heady examination of teen suicide.

“Two of the characters from that, Turner and Calvin, were so cherished, they decided to created a show for them,” said Suzie Bixler, KIDSTAGE program manager.

“Trust Me” chronicles a year in the life of two friends at different boarding schools. Calvin attends a spirited and competitive performing arts academy while Turner has been remanded to a military reform school, facing sadistic upperclassmen and fighting his own personal demons.

On the Web

Village Theatre
KIDSTAGE’s ‘Trust Me’

  • Jan. 10-26
  • 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Village Theatre First Stage, 120 Front St. N.
  • $18 general admission/$16 for youths and seniors
  • 392-2202
  • www.villagetheatre.org

 

Bixler said for the second go-around, the production staff decided to re-examine the screenplay, giving it an update for 2014. To assist in the rewrites, they recruited KIDSTAGE alumni Julia Bicknell. A graduate of the New York University writing program, she now works at a talent management company in Los Angeles. She, too, was excited to revisit one of KIDSTAGE’s more popular originals.

The first task they tackled was the musical’s length.

“It was so long,” Bicknell emphasized. “It originally was 150 pages. We’ve got it down to 122 now.”

She said the process wasn’t easy, as she spent marathon hours on “notes calls” with director Kathryn Van Meter, discussing over the phone what parts could be sacrificed.

“It was hard. We loved everything about it,” Bicknell said.

In the end, they succeeded in trimming a full half-hour off its original three-hour run time. Bicknell said they moved scenes around, giving some of the musical’s moments a better, emotional payoff.

In addition, they decided to change the name of Morris’ character’s name from Ryan Reynolds to Savannah. Both Morris and Bicknell agreed the name Ryan Reynolds just didn’t fit anymore, now that an actual Hollywood actor with the same name has become successful.

What remains intact, Bixler said, is the tale’s humor, while the musical still deals with weighty issues — relationships, drugs, alcohol, physical abuse and more.

“These are issues that face kids when they get up and away from their computers,” Bicknell said.

 

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