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'Asperger's' Musical Takes the Stage in Clayton This Weekend

"Asperger's: A High Functioning Musical" is back from the Fringe Festival for encore performances at Clayton High School.

"Asperger's: A High Functioning Musical" premiered at the Fringe Festival this summer. (Photo Credit: Jonathan White)
"Asperger's: A High Functioning Musical" premiered at the Fringe Festival this summer. (Photo Credit: Jonathan White)
Adam Rosen was just trying to understand himself.

"In most cases, the diagnosis is the treatment," said Dean Rosen, Adam's father, when they realized Adam had Asperger's syndrome.

Adam seemed to get the diagnosis, and the treatment was embodied in musical theatre form.

Dean, a clinical psychologist who operates at an independent office in Town and Country, said Adam was always determined to figure out who he was. Adam believed in theatre as a transformation and had used it as a means of sharing his story in high school.

Dean said Adam was also intrigued by music, jumping from version to version of Handel's "Messiah" and other classic masterpieces, and began to take on his own efforts in composition at 17. Dean and Adam, a 1997 Parkway North High graduate, soon started collaborating on a musical a la "A Chorus Line" derived from Adam's experiences as a gay youth in high school.

"I just started writing the script, modeling characters after people we knew and Adam's own experiences," Dean told Patch.

While their first shot at a production didn't make it to the stage, Adam's journey of learning about Asperger's was an inspiration to try again.

"He sort of set aside music for awhile to go on this quest to figure himself out," Dean said. 

As a young adult who learned he had Asperger's, Adam "realized he could combine his musical interest with activism," Dean said. 

Which leads to the Rosens' "Asperger's: A High Functioning Musical," constructed around a cast of six young adults working with Asperger's syndrome in a support group with their group leader at the helm. 

With the Rosens as producers of the show, "Asperger's" made it to the St. Louis Fringe Festival this summer. The show's success at the festival sparked the team to host encore performances, now set for Aug. 16-18 at Clayton High School. Local talent from Webster Groves, Clayton and other communities in St. Louis will reprise their roles from the Fringe premiere.

While Dean assures the musical is "clinically accurate," he described it as a show with a lot of fun in understanding reality.

"It's a concept musical, and it really shows what different people with Asperger's can go through," Dean told Patch.

For more information about the show's performances and to buy tickets, check out the Event on Patch.

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