For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.
The 2007 Blake High graduate is as nimble with roles as he is on his feet, and is currently playing Barnaby Tucker in the revival of Hello, Dolly. His position as an established performer at the highest levels doesn’t surprise Eric Davis, who taught Trensch at Blake for three years.
"He was incredibly talented, incredibly hard working, and had all of the friendliness and professionalism that is required for that job," said Davis, who left teaching to co-found Freefall Theatre.
With a Tony-winning score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, coupled with a book by Steven Levenson about a painfully shy high school student who is caught up in a lie to protect a grieving family, Dear Evan Hansen proved a breakout vehicle for Ben Platt, who is leaving the show after a Tony-winning performance as Evan. Noah Galvin will step in for two months starting Nov. 21, with Trensch taking over in mid January.
That transition marks one more milestone in a career studded with success.
"We’re extremely thrilled for him," said his father, Frank Trensch, who lives in Temple Terrace. He and Trensch’s mother, Lindsay Trensch, got a heads-up all of this might be happening from Taylor himself at age 5.
That’s when Taylor, who was already reading, saw an ad in the newspaper about auditions for The Wizard of Oz at a local theater. He asked his parents to let him try out, and landed a part as a Munchkin.
"He told us that night, ‘This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life," said Frank Trensch, 53, a physicist.
Dear Evan Hansen has moved audiences with its combustion of social awkwardness and adult-sized urges — of adolescence itself, in other words, seen through the eyes of a withdrawn and vulnerable teen. While that portrait is nothing like the socially confident student Trensch’s peers remember, it’s in the same area code as other roles in which he’s already excelled, including Moritz Stiefel in the national tour of Spring Awakening and Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on Broadway. (Other Broadway credits include Wicked and Matilda the Musical.)
"He’s only had one goal in his whole life and he’s been tremendously successful," his father said.
Contact Andrew Meacham at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.