Looking to score gold a second time following the success of its teen musical 13 a couple of years ago, Awkward Stage Productions brings the zany teen musical Zanna, Don’t! to this year’s Festival.
Billed as a “queer romance to set you straight”, Zanna, Don’t! is the classic love story with a twist, as it plays out in a world where homosexuality is now the norm. Acting on their teenage impulses, quarterback Steve and over-achiever Kate soon find themselves attracted to each other in a society where heterosexuality is taboo. As the two fall in love during the production of a controversial show called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” about straight people in the military, the magical musical fairy Zanna makes an appearance to ensure they all live happily ever after.
With a cast and crew that range in age from 14 to 21, musical director Andy Toth says he is inspired by the fact this group of young people came together so easily to perform in a show he and the team at Awkward Stage thought might be difficult to cast. Stage director Cara Tench, herself a high-school teacher, shared the same worry, but quickly discovered it was unfounded: “We thought there might be a little reluctance as there are a number of same-sex kisses, but we were overwhelmed by the response.”
While Toth describes the show as “cotton candy for kids” and he and Tench agree there is a contagious vibe to the show that is sure to grab people at any age, Awkward Productions’ executive director Sandra Herd is more pragmatic about the appeal the show will have to an older Fringe audience: “13 was all about the 13 year old experience and no one had a problem seeing themselves in that show.”
(A version of this article first appeared in the August, 23, 2012 edition of Xtra!)
Part of the 2012 Vancouver International Fringe Festival
CBC Studio, 700 Hamilton Street
6 – 16 September 2012
Visit http://www.vancouverfringe.com for exact showtimes and tickets.