Film Review: Filmed Version of “Trevor: The Musical” Showcases How Important This Story Still Is Decades After the Oscar-Winning Short

Pride Month is almost over, but Disney+ has one more addition to their Pride Collection before the celebration ends. Beginning Friday, January 24th, subscribers can stream Trevor: The Musical, an Off-Broadway musical that played at Stage 42 in New York City from October 2021 through April 2022. You’ve no doubt heard of The Trevor Project (the largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth), now learn the story that inspired the non-profit organization for the first time as… drumroll please… a musical!

(Disney/Joan Marcus)

(Disney/Joan Marcus)

13-year-old Trevor (Holden Hagelberger) dreams of winning the school talent show, partnering with a group of classmates, including Pinky (Sammy Dell), whom he forms a crush on. When his secret is accidentally revealed, Trevor is relentlessly bullied and attempts suicide, shocking his friends and family. But what emerges on the other side of darkness is a newfound sense of confidence and love for himself.

Based on the 1995 Oscar-winning short film Trevor, the creators of which co-founded The Trevor Project initially as a resource for viewers, the musical takes on a sensitive topic with warmth, humor, and showmanship. The story is set in 1981 so Trevor idolizes Diana Ross, with Yasmeen Sulieman bringing the disco diva to life through Trevor’s fantasies. These moments add not only insight into Trevor’s thoughts, but also incorporate a few familiar songs in a lineup of music by Julianne Wick Davis, with lyrics by book writer Dan Collins. The songs are mostly uptempo and fun, although occasionally macabre. A few are catchy, but none of them stay with you much after the show ends, with the exception of Diana Ross’ pride anthem “I’m Coming Out.”

The cast is enthusiastic and talented, mostly comprised of fresh faces destined for future success on stage and screen. Holden Hagelberger not only sells Trevor’s enthusiasm and longing, but also the pain of his darkest moments. The stage musical had a an age recommendation of 13 and up and the filmed version follows that same logic. In addition to suicide, there’s some talk of sexual urges, but nothing worse than what middle schoolers hear amongst their peers between classes. There’s also some mild language, including use of the homophobic slur that starts with an “F.”

Yes, Trevor: The Musical is sad, but it also inspires hope. The fact that it exists in this extended format shows just how powerful the story still is over twenty years later. The show was likely more engaging in a live setting and some sequences feel dragged on too long to hit a 2-hour mark on the show’s total runtime, but it’s still a joy to watch. The fact that a story as important as this is now accessible on a platform like Disney+, connected to an organization as necessary as The Trevor Project, shows just how far we’ve come from when the short that inspired it all was released.

I give Trevor: The Musical 3.5 out of 5 John Travolta Saturday Night Fever dance moves.

Trevor: The Musical begins streaming Friday, June 24th, only on Disney+.

Visit TheTrevorProject.com for more information about suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth, how to get in touch with a counselor, or how to donate to this important cause.