Fringe Review: ‘Mindset: A Surrealist Rock Opera’

The cast in the song “Booty Swing.” Photo by Shelly Han.

If I told you, “Hey, there is a musical that deals with the four stages of life and the choices you have to make as told through a therapy session,” you’d probably say, “Hey sounds interesting.” Now what if I said, “The show was written by a high school student.” You’d then most definitely say, “WHAAAATTTT!!” There is a very very talented kid named Jace Casey and he is the mastermind behind Mindset: A Surrealist Rock Opera.

All of these talented performers are triple threats.

Casey has written, directed, choreographed, and orchestrated his first masterwork and has done a great job in all departments. His music is scored for a 6 piece band (Piano, Synth, Guitar, Drums, Violin and Accordian). Did I mention he is also in the show? Now if this were an adult doing all of this, you’d say: “vanity production.” Because this is a high school student, however, it’s ok, as Casey’s ambition to be a theatrical impresario comes shining through.

The cast made up of all high school students bring Casey’s work to life in a big way. All of these talented performers are triple threats.

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It would be impossible to say one is better than the other because they all work together as a unit. As we champion young talent here at the Theatre Guide, I am going to pick out just a few of the many talents to give you a sample.

As the adult, Noah Harrington delivers his centerpiece number “Mad World” with power and great emotion. As the teenager, Jace Casey delivers a stellar performance both vocally and dramatically. Of The ladies, Caitlin O’Grady as The Lady in Green performs “Cosmic Love” with a merry band of sprites and does so quite endearingly. This is just a sampling of what you will see in the show.

If I have any advice to give Jace Casey (and believe me he is way more talented than I am), it would be that he needs to delegate responsibilities a little bit. Theatre is a collaborative art form and, while Casey is unquestionably a very ambitious kid with extraordinary talent, I’d hate to see him be construed as an egomaniac.

Mindset A Surrealist Rock Opera has a lot to say about ourselves and our life choices. Casey’s story and production are a definite must see and the talent is up there with the best of them. The show only has two more Saturdays, with two shows a day. If you see only one show this Capital Fringe, Mindset A Surrealist Rock Opera should be one you consider. It oozes with talent in all departments and DC might have its next great producer in the person of Jace Casey.

For remaining show times click here.

For a complete list of everything happening at Capital Fringe go here.

About Elliot Lanes

Elliot Lanes has been a professional stage manager/sound designer/board op for over 20 years. After relocating to Washington, DC from the New York City area and marrying the girl of his dreams Jennifer Perry, he has been privileged to work on productions at Theatre J, Synetic, Prince George's Community College and Studio Theater to name a few. He has contributed designs for many shows in the last three Capital Fringe Festivals, two of which garnered critical raves. He is also the creator of MD Theatre Guide's highly successful 'A Quick 5' column.