13, A New Musical Comes of Age on Broadway Sept. 16

News   13, A New Musical Comes of Age on Broadway Sept. 16 Stars of tomorrow will dawn today — Sept. 16 — at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, where the first preview of the new high school-set musical 13, with songs by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, appears. Jeremy Sams directs.
13's Graham Phillips
13's Graham Phillips Photo by Justin Borucki

The show's puberty happened in earlier productions at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (in early 2007) and Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Connecticut (this past spring). Written by composer-lyricist Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years) and librettists Dan Elish and Robert Horn, the more fully developed show — featuring actors and a band all composed of teenagers — will officially open Oct. 5, charting the anxieties and excitement of kids who are struggling with hormones and high school hierarchy.

You've probably never heard of them — or the understudies or the onstage kid musicians — but consider the troupers to be stars of tomorrow. Most are making their Broadway debut, though some have credits in such shows at Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life.

The 13 principal cast members include Al Calderon as Eddie, Eamon Foley as Richie, Caitlin Gann as Molly, Ariana Grande as Charlotte, Aaron Simon Gross as Archie, Elizabeth Gillies as Lucy, Malik Hammond as Malcolm, Joey La Varco as Simon, Delaney Moro as Kendra, Eric Nelsen as Brett, Graham Phillips as Evan, Allie Trimm as Patrice and Brynn Williams as Cassie.

Also in the cast are understudies Riley Costello, Henry Hodges, Mary Claire Miskell, Liana Ortiz, Max Schneider and Corey Snide, while onstage teen band members include Lexi Bodick on bass, Zac Coe on percussion, Adam Kaufman on keyboard, Zach Page on guitar, Chris Raymond on guitar and Charlie Rosen (swing musician).

More details about the troupe are available at www.13themusical.com. 13, A New Musical is directed by Tony Award nominee Sams (The Sound of Music in the West End) and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific). Tom Kitt (High Fidelity) is the music director.

In the show, according to producers, "Evan Goldman has it all — he's popular, has the perfect family and lives in the greatest city in the world — New York. That is until his parents get divorced and he's forced to move with his Mom… to Indiana. Uprooted from his old life, he has to make new friends and somehow maneuver his way through the minefield of High School to become part of the 'in-crowd.' A grown-up story about growing up, featuring the only all-teenage cast ever to hit Broadway!"

With "an explosive score by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown," it's a "hilarious, high-energy musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it."

The production features scenic and costume design by Tony nominee David Farley (2008's Sunday in the Park with George), lighting design by Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt (The Coast of Utopia Part I) and sound design by Jon Weston (The Color Purple).

13, A New Musical earned the L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Production and Best Musical Score for its world- premiere production at Center Theatre Group/The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (Dec. 22, 2006-Feb. 18, 2007).

Elish is a songwriter and children's writer known for the novel "Born Too Short, Confessions of an 8th Grade Basket Case." Horn is a veteran writer for TV and film ("Designing Women," "Living Single").

The musical is produced on Broadway by Bob Boyett, Roger Berlind, Tim Levy, Stacey Mindich, Jane Bergère, Broadway Across America, Ken Davenport, Ted Hartley, Sharon Karmazin, Carl Moellenberg, Jamie Lightstone/Nina Keneally, Tom Miller/True Love Productions, Olympus Theatricals, Center Theatre Group in association with Shorenstein Hays Nederlander and The Araca Group.

Tickets for 13, A New Musical can be purchased through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com.

The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre is located at 242 West 45th Street. For more information, cast videos and a free download of the title track, visit www.13themusical.com.

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Ghostlight will release the original cast album of 13. A novelization of the musical is now in stores.

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