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Young producer excited to bring new musical to the Lichfield Garrick

The last time I saw Jonathan Mace was at the first night of Lichfield Garrick Youth Theatre’s magnificent, epoch-making Les Miserables in which he played villainous innkeeper Thenardier. I told him then that with his degree of talent he could go straight into the West End as a performer. Yet here he is again, now 21-years-old and to my surprise not as a performer but the producer of a new musical, Edges by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Jonathan Mace

Jonathan Mace

I caught up with him in the Garrick Studio to hear how it all happened.

“I’ve been in Chile for the last two years,” he explains, “and that gave me the space to ask the question, ‘What do I want to do?’ It turns out the answer is I intend to be a producer.”

Jonathan confided this to the Lichfield Garrick’s Artistic Director Adrian Jackson who listened, then told him to come back with a realistic business plan. He did.

Adrian admits: “Something about Jonathan’s determination and self-belief struck a chord that reminded me of my own youthful ambition. His plan was good – so the show was on.”

Jonathan admits being forced to be financially realistic wasn’t easy but says the process gave him the confidence to carry the whole project through.

So what is Edges, I wanted to know.

“It’s a show about young people finding out about themselves and what they want to be through their relationships, which I could really relate to. But it isn’t only about young people,” he reassures me quickly. “There’s a great number in it called I Once Knew that’s all about family and memories.”

So how did he find Edges?

“I came across a song called Along The Way on YouTube that’s funny, jokey and emotional too which turned out to be from the show. But my real reason for wanting to do it is that it’s new – for example there’s a song about Facebook that’s very ironic and very current.”

The cast at a rehearsal

The cast at a rehearsal

He’s used the magic word new, so now I’m hooked.

“The show was written by two Harvard students who wanted to put on a show,” he explains. “They engaged performers, booked a theatre and did the publicity. Then they realised they didn’t have a show! So they wrote one.

“They were forced to create the show, and I felt a real affinity with that. In the same way that I felt I needed a big project to become who I wanted to be, the show’s characters also quite literally have to create themselves during the course of the evening.”

Our time’s up, but this new young producer has the last word.

“Working on this show has been a pure delight,” he says, and I can see he really means it. “We’ve laughed every day.”

I feel sure we’ll be hearing about Jonathan Mace’s adventures in theatreland for a long time to come.

Edges runs in the Lichfield Garrick Studio from August 27 to 30. For tickets phone the box office on 01543 or go online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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