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  • " 13 "

    Posted: Sun., Oct. 5, 2008, 5:00pm PT



    (Bernard B. Jacobs Theater; 1,042 seats; $111.50 top)

    Teens struggle with popularity and crushes in '13,' helmed by Jeremy Sams

    By David Rooney

    In case anyone missed the lesson learned from "High School Musical" and its endlessly multiplying spawn, kids these days are quite comfortable watching their fictional counterparts burst into song to express their feelings. So the target audience for "13" should have no trouble identifying with the characters onstage as they tunefully reflect on friendship, crushes, popularity, acceptance and tongue action. There's not much in this sweet all-adolescent tuner to engage anyone past puberty, but the other lesson of the Disney franchise is that a narrowly defined demographic is no barrier to success.

    The question is whether that principle can apply on Broadway. Television and film don't need to reach beyond their core audience to be a hit, and concert or legit ventures spun out of "HSM" or the Miley Cyrus phenomenon are virtually presold to an already rabid fanbase. But "13" is attempting to build a following from the ground up -- with nary a Jonas Brother or Cheetah Girl in sight. Given that Broadway ducats are out of reach on most allowances, the show's producers have their marketing work cut out for them.

    That's not to say "13" doesn't have assets. While the storyline by children's novelist Dan Elish and vet TV writer Robert Horn is a familiar fish-out-of-water tale populated by generics (geek, loser, gossip girl, beauty, jock, etc.), it has heart and charm. The kids in the age-appropriate cast are talented. And the score by Jason Robert Brown ("Parade"), which nimbly straddles pop and musical theater idioms, is several notches above the standard processed pap for teen tuners.
    full review at:Theater Review: 13 - Theater and Musical Production Reviews
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: " 13 "

    I admittedly can't stand most of the popular teen musical sensations, but it's not because I'm against such things if done well. I just don't think many of them are done well. I have very high hopes for this though purely because of composer Jason Robert Brown. He's probably my favorite of the currently active Broadway composers. I believe there's a cast recording available for download already, but I haven't had a chance to check it out.


    • #3
      Re: " 13 "

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

      By Kenneth Jones
      05 Oct 2008

      13's Graham Phillips
      photo by Joan Marcus
      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.

      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.
      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 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).

      Playbill News: 13, Jason Robert Brown's Pop Musical About Coming of Age, Opens on Broadway
      "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006


      • #4
        Re: " 13 "

        Although I think the cast is quite talented, I'm not very fond of the music. Jason Robert Brown is very talented, but the songs didn't really work for me.
        The daydream princess