Independent Project Preview: Henry Crater ’20 and Chloe Webster ’20 Co-Direct Song Cycle “Edges”

Since “Edges” is an Independent Project, student directors Henry Crater ’20 and Chloe Webster ’20 had greater creative control over the performance than in a typical faculty-led project.

Denise Taveras ’21 sang the soulful opening notes of “Ready to be Loved,” gently swaying back and forth. Henry Crater ’20, Quintin Moss ’21, and Chloe Webster ’20 soon joined in an uptempo unison. Their voices filled the yellow-lit choir room as they smiled to the crowd of students, building a crescendo to an eager chorus: they were ready to be loved.[a]

“Edges,” a song cycle by Pasek & Paul, is an Independent Project (IP) led by Crater and co-directed by Crater and Chloe Webster ’20, which will be performed this upcoming Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the Timken Room. The cast consists of four singers, two pianists, a drummer, and a bassist. A song cycle is a work of musical theatre, organized in a collection of songs that hold a collective theme. Crater believes that the work is very relevant to himself and the others in the cast.

“[“Edges”] is a song cycle about growing up, about self-discovery, and the simultaneous fear and excitement that comes with finding out who you are as a young teenager. With all four of us being upperclassmen… I think… some of the problems that we’re tackling in these little vignettes are things that we’ll be dealing with soon,” said Crater.

Clara Tu ’21 is playing piano for the show along with Emma Fu ’21. Tu echoed Crater’s sentiments regarding the relevance of the themes in “Edges,” noting her personal connection to the song “Perfect”.

“Personally, ‘Perfect’ is probably my favorite piece from the entire song cycle. It is such a beautifully composed piece, and it perfectly conveys the misconception that one needs to change one’s identity in order to maintain relationships,” said Tu.

The show represents different points in each cast member’s musical career. [b][c]For Moss, “Edges” is one of the first musicals he’s been in. He says it has been a gratifying experience which has taught him a lot.

“Now that I’m in a bigger show where I have longer solo songs, I’ve had to relearn how to build and grow in a show, and changing the emotion throughout the song, which is something that I never had to do before,” said Moss.

Webster says that “Edges” is a continuation of her exploration of more unusual types of music and performance. Though she started with traditional theater, Webster began to explore different parts of the theater world with “Ghost Quartet,” a song cycle she directed last spring.

“I started out in more traditional music theater, and then sort of moved toward more… avant-garde… works as I grew older and got a taste for weird musical stuff and things that were stretching limits and all that. And I think that this is definitely a piece that does that,” said Webster.

According to Crater, “Edges” was something that he never expected to do. However, after this term of rehearsals, he realized that his love of stories led him to try directing for the first time.

“I love stories, [and] I love doing a solo and telling a story in a song that is kind of a complete story in itself, because it doesn’t need to be part of the show to have its own meaning,” said Crater. “And directing is a really fun new adventure for me, [since] I’ve never done that before.”

Editor’s Note: Emma Fu is an Associate Arts Editor for The Phillipian.