Monday, January 27, 2014

Exploring the Excitement and Angst of Turning 13

13, The Musical by Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics) and Dan Elish and Robert Horn (book) is the story of a 12-year-old New York City boy (Evan) who's preparing for his Bar Mitzvah while hisparents are preparing for divorce. Due to the circumstances, Evan and his mother are forced to move to an Indiana suburb. While adjusting to life in a predominately Christian 'burb, he's also trying to make new friends who will attend his Bar Mitzvah. The problem is -- will he settle for only inviting his unpopular new friends or try to impress the cool kids to attend

13, The Musical has a simple story that's been told before, but it's pure FUN with an infectious Top 40 style score. The all-teen cast provides a great opportunity for parents to introduce theater to 'tweens and young teens alike. But, don't worry parents — there are plenty of gags and jokes for both the young and the young at heart to enjoy! 

Director Nick D'Argenio has assembled an extremely talented group of teens — Amanda DeFilippis (Kendra), Branden Fletcher (Richie), Karalyn Joseph (Patrice), Katie Loftus (Cassie), Kyra McKillip (Charlotte), Wyatt McManus (Eddie), Lyndie Moe (Lucy), Nolan Moss (Simon), Gianni Palmarini (Evan), Felipe Rocha (Brett), Will Rotsch (Archie), Evelyn Schiavone (Molly), and Jacob Tracey (Malcolm) — and gives all of them the opportunity to take center stage and shine. 

Palmarini is an exceptional performer who perfectly conveys Evan's conflicted feelings of wanting to fit in with the in-crowd, but yet wanting to remain loyal to his underdog friends (Patrice and Archie). Palmarini is a true triple threat, commanding the stage but never upstaging his fellow cast members. Joseph as Evan's outcast friend Patrice captures the strengths and insecurities of the character. She's working on having a friendship with Evan, but doesn't let down her guard or sacrifice her own convictions in the process. Rotsch as the terminally ill, yet confident underdog, Archie is hysterical, especially during the number "Terminal Illness" when he comically uses his illness to convince Evan's mother to purchase tickets for an R-rated horror movie for the protagonist's popular friends. 

Although the cast has a scaled-down set for its performance, the boisterous choreography by Tommy Fisher-Klein keeps the show flowing. Mr. Fisher-Klein merges current dance steps with flips and other acrobatic moves that delight the audience. With musical direction by Anthony Vitalo, 13, The Musical's infectious score will have you smiling and wishing you were 13 again! 

13, The Musical runs through February 2, at the Wilmington Drama League. Visit or call 302.764.1172 for additional information and tickets. 

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