The all-teen cast (and band) plays Goodspeed Musicals' developmental home (where critics are not invited), but where the creative team — including book writers Dan Elish and Robert Horn and director Jeremy Sams — can investigate their material in front of an audience but not in danger of wider industry scrutiny.
A more public airing of the original musical comedy about an East Coast kid relocated to a Midwest high school will come in September, producer Bob Boyett previously said, when 13 begins performances at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. No official dates have been announced.
The Broadway-aimed show, revised since its 2007 Los Angeles premiere at the Mark Taper Forum (Dec. 22, 2006-Feb. 18, 2007), concerns "coming of age, teen traumas and high school survival," and will play Goodspeed's Norma Terris through June 8.
The central role of Evan Goldman is played by Graham Philips and Hudson Thames in rotating performances. Philips appeared in A Christmas Carol: the Musical with Jim Dale at Madison Square Garden, as Young Clyde in the world premiere of An American Tragedy at The Metropolitan Opera and as the Little Prince in The Little Prince at New York City Opera. Los Angeles native Thames recently appeared in Distracted at the Mark Taper Forum, and in the role of Jason in Falsettos with Jason Alexander at the Wilshire Theater.
According to Goodspeed, "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 — to a small town in Indiana. Uprooted from his old life, he has to make new friends and somehow maneuver the minefield of High School to become part of the 'in-crowd.' With wit and searing honesty, 13 is a hilarious, high-energy musical for all ages. It's about the lessons one learns throughout life and the discovery that the journey to who you want to be starts with discovering who you are." Expect a young cast (not far off from the title age) and "an explosive rock score" by composer Brown (Parade), who penned music and lyrics for 13.
Librettist Horn is new to the project since its earlier run at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Archie is played by Aaron Simon Gross (Off-Broadway's Brundibar and A Stoop on Orchard Street); Patrice is played by Allie Trimm (Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!); Eric Nelson (Off-Broadway's Time Being, Ragamuffins, Interaction, Every Man, Five Guns Four Bullets) plays Brett; Elizabeth Gillies (The American Girl Revue in New York City) plays Lucy; Kendra is played by Ashton Smalling (Baby June in Gypsy with Patti LuPone at the Ravinia Festival); Charlotte is played by Ariana Grande; Molly is played by Caitlin Gann (Baby June in Gypsy at the Ivoryton Playhouse); Cassie is played by Taylor Bright (30th anniversary national tour of Annie); Eamon Foley (Broadway's Gypsy, Assassins and How the Grinch Stole Christmas) plays Steve; Joey La Varco plays Bill; Kyle Crews is Malcolm; and Alberto Calderon (2007 Radio City Christmas Spectacular) is Eddie.
13 also features an all-teen band. The band members are: Adam Kaufman (keyboard II), Chris Raymond (guitar), Zach Page (guitar), Zachary Coe (percussion) and Lexi Bodick (bass).
Jeremy Sams, whose adaptation of Amour was seen at Goodspeed in 2005, directs the Broadway-aimed show. Sams penned the stage adaptation Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and directed the recent Broadway revival of Noises Off.
The creative team also includes set and costume designer David Farley (Broadway's Sunday in the Park with George) and lighting designer Brian MacDevitt (a Tony Award winner for The Coast of Utopia, The Pillowman and Into the Woods).
13 was originally commissioned and produced by Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles (Michael Ritchie, artistic director; Charles Dillingham, managing director); by special arrangement with Bob Boyett, who will shepherd the show to a commercial future.
Tickets are on sale through the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. There's a rare special offer attached for this run: Front row seating is reserved for teens at just $13 per ticket.
Dedicated to the "preservation and advancement of musical theatre," Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and additional musicals at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. It's the only regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement).