Teen Spirit: New Musical 13 Aims for Broadway's Jacobs in September

News   Teen Spirit: New Musical 13 Aims for Broadway's Jacobs in September Bob Boyett, one of the producers of the limited-run Broadway production The Country Girl at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, said he'll be a tenant at the Jacobs longer than previously known: After The Country Girl, he's putting the musical 13 there.

Tyler Mann and Emma Degerstedt in Jason Robert Brown's 13 at the Mark Taper Forum.
Tyler Mann and Emma Degerstedt in Jason Robert Brown's 13 at the Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz

"We'll do 13, Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish's new musical," Boyett told Playbill columnist Harry Haun on April 27, the opening night of The Country Girl. "It'll come to this theatre the first week in September."

The show, directed by Jeremy Sams (Amour, Noises Off) and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli (Altar Boyz, South Pacific), played an earlier engagement at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Following revisions and the addition of co-librettist Robert Horn, the musical about high-schoolers will play an engagement May 9-June 8 at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT.

Boyett said he expects to use basically the same cast and crew as at Goodspeed. True to its title, he said, "It's about a young man who's 13, about to have his bar mitzvah and living in New York with his mom and dad. His father leaves with an air hostess, and his mom moves to a small town in the Midwest, and he has to reorient his whole life. Essentially, it's sort of a coming-of-age story."

Dates and casting for the Broadway run have not been officially announced. Composer-lyricist Brown won the Tony Award for Best Score for the musical Parade, and penned book, music and lyrics for The Last 5 Years and wrote songs for Urban Cowboy, the musical.

The all-teen cast for Goodspeed Musicals' new production of 13 includes nary a star — but tons of energy. The band is also comprised of teens. *

At Goodspeed the central role of Evan Goldman will be 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 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."

Archie will be played by Aaron Simon Gross (Off-Broadway's Brundibar and A Stoop on Orchard Street); Patrice will be played by Allie Trim (Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!); Eric Nelson (Off-Broadway's Time Being, Ragamuffins, Interaction, Every Man, Five Guns Four Bullets) will play Brett; Elizabeth Gillies (The American Girl Revue in New York City) will play Lucy; Kendra will be played by Ashton Smalling (Baby June in Gypsy with Patti LuPone at the Ravinia Festival); Charlotte will be played by Ariana Grande; Molly will be played by Caitlin Gann (Baby June in Gypsy at the Ivoryton Playhouse); Cassie will be played by Taylor Bright (30th anniversary national tour of Annie); Eamon Foley (Broadway's Gypsy, Assassins and How the Grinch Stole Christmas) will play Steve; Joey La Varco will play Bill; Kyle Crews will play Malcolm; and Alberto Calderon (2007 Radio City Christmas Spectacular) will play Eddie.

13 will feature an all-teen band. The band members will be: Adam Kaufman (keyboard II), Chris Raymond (guitar), Zach Page (guitar), Zachary Coe (percussion) and Lexi Bodick (bass).

The creative team includes set and costume designer David Farley (Broadway's Sunday in the Park with George), 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.

Tickets are on sale now 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.

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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).

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