Movie review: Filmed version of ‘Trevor: The Musical’ shows how important this story still is decades after the Oscar-winning short
pride month almost finished, but Disney+ has one more addition to his Pride Collection before the celebration ends. Beginning Friday, January 24, subscribers can stream Trevor: The Musicalan Off-Broadway musical that played at Stage 42 in New York City from October 2021 to April 2022. You’ve no doubt heard of The Trevor Project (the largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth), now discover the story that first inspired the nonprofit in the form of… drumroll s please… a musical!
Thirteen-year-old Trevor (Holden Hagelberger) dreams of winning the school talent show, joining forces with a group of classmates, including Pinky (Sammy Dell), who he has a crush on. When his secret is accidentally revealed, Trevor is bullied relentlessly and attempts suicide, shocking his friends and family. But what emerges on the other side of the darkness is a new sense of confidence and love for himself.
Based on the 1995 Oscar-winning short Trevor, whose creators co-founded The Trevor Project initially as a resource for viewers, the musical tackles a sensitive topic with warmth, humor and showmanship. The story is set in 1981, when Trevor idolizes Diana Ross, with Yasmeen Sulieman bringing the disco diva to life through Trevor’s fantasies. These moments not only add insight into Trevor’s thoughts, but also incorporate some familiar songs into a lineup of music by Julianne Wick Davis, with lyrics by writer Dan Collins. The songs are mostly upbeat and fun, though sometimes macabre. A few are catchy, but none of them stick with you long after the show ends, except for Diana Ross’ pride anthem “I’m Coming Out.”
The cast is enthusiastic and talented, mostly made up of new faces destined for future success on stage and screen. Holden Hagelberger not only sells Trevor’s enthusiasm and desire, but also the pain of his darkest moments. The musical had an age recommendation of 13+ and the filmed version follows the same logic. In addition to suicide, there is talk of sexual urges, but nothing worse than what middle schoolers hear among their peers between classes. There’s also soft language, including the use of the homophobic slur that begins with an “F”.
Yes, Trevor: The Musical is sad, but it also inspires hope. The fact that it exists in this extended format shows how powerful the story still is over twenty years later. The show was probably more engaging in a live setting and some sequences seem too long to reach a total of 2 hours over the total run time of the show, but it’s still a pleasure to watch. The fact that a story as important as this is now accessible on a platform like Disney+, connected to such a necessary organization as The Trevor Project, shows how far we are from the release of the short film that inspired it. .
I give Trevor: The Musical 3.5 out of 5 John Travolta Saturday night fever dance moves.
Trevor: the musical begins streaming Friday, June 24, only on Disney+.
Visit TheTrevorProject.com for more information on suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth, how to connect with a counselor, or how to donate to this important cause.