13, Jason Robert Brown's Pop Musical About Coming of Age, Opens on Broadway

News   13, Jason Robert Brown's Pop Musical About Coming of Age, Opens on Broadway
13, the new middle school-set musical with songs by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown and performances by actors and musicians who are not yet old enough to drive, opens at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Oct. 5.

13's Graham Phillips
13's Graham Phillips Photo by Joan Marcus

The opening follows previews that began Sept. 16. Jeremy Sams (who staged London and Toronto's current The Sound of Music) directs.

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 now more fully developed show — featuring actors and a band all composed of teenagers — charts the anxieties and excitement of kids who are struggling with hormones and high school hierarchy.

In 13, A New Musical, 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," expect a "hilarious, high-energy musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it." (Despite the "high school" billing by producers, co-librettist Elish confirmed to Playbill.com that 13 is technically set in middle school, which, in the U.S., typically educates sixth, seventh and eighth graders — turbulent years, to be sure. In the past 30 years in the U.S., the term "middle school" has largely replaced what used to be called "junior high school." Junior high used to include seventh, eighth and ninth graders).

You've probably never heard of them, but consider the 13 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 (who plays Evan Saturdays at 8 PM), 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 Toronto, the London and Broadway revival of Noises Off) and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific). Tom Kitt (High Fidelity) is the music director.

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).

During the process of Broadway previews, the intermission was cut.

The musical numbers, according to the opening night Playbill, include:

"13/Becoming a Man"
"The Lamest Place in the World"
"Hey Kendra"
"Get Me What I Need"
"What It Means to Be a Friend"
"All Hail the Brain"
"Terminal Illness"
"Getting Ready"
"Any Minute"
"Good Enough"
"Bad Bad News"
"Tell Her"
"I Can't Be True"
"If That's What It Is"
"A Little More Homework"
"Brand New You"

Ghostlight Records has digitally released the original cast album of 13. It will be in stores in late 2008. Visit sh-k-boom.com for more information.

A novelization of the musical is now in stores.


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).

Brown, who penned 13's music and lyrics, arrangements and orchestrations, wrote the music and lyrics for The Last Five Years, Parade (for which he won the Best Score Tony Award) and Songs for a New World (directed by Daisy Prince), and contributed songs to Urban Cowboy the Musical. He won three Drama Desk Awards, the Kleban Award and Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award. Recordings of his work include "Wearing Someone Else's Clothes" (Sh-K-Boom) and Lauren Kennedy's "Songs of Jason Robert Brown" (PS Classics). He's working on the musicals Honeymoon in Vegas (with Andrew Bergman) and The Trumpet of the Swan (with Marsha Norman). His had also collaborated on "Tickety-Tock," a picture book created with Mary GrandPré (HarperCollins). He lives with his wife and daughter in L.A. and teaches at USC. Visit www.jasonrobertbrown.com.

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, Ken Davenport, Ted Hartley, Stacey Mindich, Jane Bergère, Broadway Across America, Sharon Karmazin, Carl Moellenberg, Tom Miller, True Love Productions/Olympus Theatricals, Center Theatre Group. Associate producers are 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 at 242 West 45th Street. For more information, cast videos and a free download of the title track, visit 13themusical.com.

Al Calderon, Delaney Moro, Elizabeth Gillies, Eamon Foley, Malik Hammond, Caitlin Gann and Ariana Grande in <i>13</i>
Al Calderon, Delaney Moro, Elizabeth Gillies, Eamon Foley, Malik Hammond, Caitlin Gann and Ariana Grande in 13 Photo by Joan Marcus
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