Fringe review: Drama 101, A New Musical

DRAMA 101, A NEW MUSICAL by Stephen Gallagher and Kevin Wong (Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts/Fringe). At the Robert.


DRAMA 101, A NEW MUSICAL by Stephen Gallagher and Kevin Wong (Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts/Fringe). At the Robert Gill Theatre. Jul 7 at 2:15 pm, Jul 8 at 6 pm, Jul 10 at 5:30 pm, Jul 11 at 2:45 pm, Jul 13 at 9:15 pm, Jul 14 at 5:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNNN

Preparing a party for their beloved high school drama teacher on the eve of her retirement, a bunch of students illustrate how she changed their lives in this funny, heartwarming and inspiring musical paean to the power of art.

Steven Gallagher and Kevin Wong‘s show sensitively and affectionately nods to other musicals it’s a bit like A Chorus Line for tweens. There’s the song about how theatre brought a socially anxious student (Mya Wong) out of her shell another deals with the class clown (Andrew Burke). And a terrific ensemble number shows how improvising can turn lemons into lemonade.

Other amusing topics include the divide between the backstage crew and actors, and how one female student has lousy gaydar. But there are just as many poignant songs, such as the moving duet between two students (Mauranda Nunes and Sydney Cornett) who aren’t particularly talented but who love being part of something big, and another number about two students (Jamie Graham and Anthony Palermo) who think the other “has it all.”

The songs are catchy and the lyrics clever. If some of the entrances and exits occasionally feel contrived, that’s understandable for a show with 14 performers.

About those performers: the cast is all between 13 and 19 (producer Bravo Academy is committed to developing age-appropriate musicals for young artists). Under director Gallagher, they handle the dialogue, songs and choreography like pros. There’s a nice balance between the music, under music director Jonathan Corkal, and the singers.

It’s unfair to single out anyone, so I’ll name them all. Besides those already mentioned, there’s Nicole Sherwin, Cailan Bodnar, Sydney Scott, Lucas Romanelli, Sean Lee, Cyrena Fiel, Alan Cui and Berkley Silverman.

After this thrilling show, I’m confident I’ll see many of them on stages soon.

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