Paper Or Plastic, book by Miss Hazel Jade & Jeff Brown and available at New Play Exchange.
A musical! An honest-to-God musical! This past week members of my Facebook cohort have been sharing this list of musical favorites and hatreds. I don't generally like to use the word "hate" if I can help it, but for this I made an exception.
MUSICAL I HATE: Bye Bye Birdie
MUSICAL I THINK IS OVERRATED: The Book of Mormon
MUSICAL I THINK IS UNDERRATED: Chess
MUSICAL I LOVE: Company
MUSICAL I CHERISH: Hedwig & the Angry Inch
MUSICAL I COULD LISTEN TO ON REPEAT: Hamilton
MUSICAL I STILL WANT TO DO: Urinetown
MUSICAL THAT MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSICALS: A Chorus Line
MUSICAL THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: Jesus Christ Superstar
GUILTY PLEASURE: Doonesbury
MUSICAL I SHOULD HAVE SEEN BY NOW BUT HAVEN'T: Spring Awakening
So now you know. I'm not really a musical guy, anyway. But it was a pleasure to read the book to this new musical -- even better, to listen to the demo recordings on Soundcloud, music and lyrics by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden.
Billed as a "new high school musical" Paper or Plastic chronicles the doubts and hopes of a very modern clique of high school seniors in "flyover country." These intertwining tales are a healthy reminder that any adult who tells you that high school is the best time of your life is a very unhappy person.
I have teenagers, and these worries and dreams are quite close to surface for me now, which Jade & Brown describe in realistic detail; the fear of missing out, fretting over applications and aspirations, the helplessness one feels acting as the adult for parents whose own marriages and lives are falling apart. Stevens & Wooden have created some lovely pop ballads for their characters, I'd love to hear them performed by actual teen performers.
These kids are trying to figure out the same things we all have, but today its different. Liberated from binary choices brings freedom, and danger, yes, but freedom has never been synonymous with ease.
Who should I read tomorrow?