7:30 pm Fridays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays through May 5., Friday April 26 | $30.50, students $20.
From the opening panicked notes of the a cappella musical thriller Ablaze
, it’s clear the audience is in for a dark and gripping ride. The musical centers on eight students trapped in the basement of a high school as it burns down, and the aftermath once they’re found. A sparse and confined set conveys the claustrophobia and despair the characters feel as they tackle the show’s weighty subjects: young love, friendship, suicide, abortion, rape. This is the first time Ablaze
has been professionally staged: Local playwright Matthew Zrebski first developed the play for Lincoln High students in 2004, and in 2011 transformed it into a musical at Wilson High. He again directs, and his young cast of 23 is sincere and impressive. One of the highlights is the fire, portrayed by 11 cast members dressed in black, with faces painted red and orange. Their unrelenting presence reminds one character of being bullied and another of a ticking clock and the demands of perfectionism. Throughout, the fire lurks, biding its time until it can engulf both characters and audience.
1111 SW BroadwayWebsite: http://www.pcpa.com/events/ablaze