Surprise teenager produces rock opera - East Valley Tribune: West Valley

Surprise teenager produces rock opera

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Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 4:00 am

The personal situations of several friends led Levi Mitchell to write a rock opera about the problems of his generation and their social impact.

The 13-year-old Surprise resident penned the musical, “The Way,” based on a song he composed two years ago. The rock opera, with a cast of 13, mostly teenagers, will debut Friday at Kingdom in the Valley in Litchfield Park.

“I think that both parents and kids can take so much from this, and I hope many walk away with a whole different outlook on things,” Mitchell said.

“The Way” is based on a fictional story about about a teen high school student, Jeremy Nelson, with a passion for music and a desire to be loved. Jeremy and his Christian family lose their way, but find their way back.

“Jeremy gets caught up with the wrong crowd and goes through drug and alcohol abuse and even some self-mutilation too,” Mitchell said.

Part of the inspiration for the story comes from the real-life accounts of one of Mitchell’s classmates.

He had a friend whose father was a drug addict and abused her. For attention, she carved the word “Sorry” into her arm.

“Stuff like this is happening a lot, you just might not hear about it all of the time,” said Mitchell, who will be a freshman this year at Paradise Honors High School.

It took Mitchell approximately a year to finish the rock opera. When he started, the only song he had written was “The Way.”

Eight more songs and a script have been added to the production, which will be directed by his mother, Angelia Mitchell.

She said the story is inspirational and graphic because of some content. But she said she believes her son’s work will touch many lives.

“I know that hundreds of teens will be affected by this,” she said.

Levi, who is also a Justin Bieber impersonator, said they’re hoping to take the play to other churches after their test run at Kingdom in the Valley.

Putting together a production has been a challenge for the teen, who also acts in the rock opera. He’s had to balance school and sports.

“It’s been quite a task, but I hope it all pays off in the long run,” he said.

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