Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. Directed by Chris Adams. A presentation of Bring on Tomorrow Co., in association with Moving Mirrors Productions and Creber Music Corp. At the Waterfront Theatre on Sunday, October 1. Continues until October 8
Mean girls, jocks, freaks, and geeks—the struggles of adolescence always seem to come with these familiar characters. Bring on Tomorrow Co.’s production of 13: The Musical introduces us to a new generation of these archetypes in a story about the teenage fight for social acceptance and the true meaning of friendship. It’s also the perfect vehicle to showcase an impressive array of local teenage talents who individually and collectively deliver outstanding performances.
The cast features 19 kids, many of whom have appeared in Arts Club Theatre productions as well as in film and TV shows. Leading the pack is Graham Verchere as 12-year-old New Yorker Evan Goldman, on the verge of turning 13 and having his bar mitzvah. Evan’s life is turned upside down when his parents’ divorce moves him to Appleton, Indiana. Evan becomes fixated on one goal: to get in with the popular kids and have them come to his all-important event.
Verchere has a down-to-earth, likable quality in his portrayal of Evan, making it easy for us to root for his character as he forges through the battleground known as junior high. Julia MacLean is phenomenal as social outcast Patrice, equipped with a uniquely glorious voice. Whether she's stricken with excitement when meeting Evan in “The Lamest Place in the World”, or experiencing heartbreak in “What It Means to Be a Friend”, MacLean’s voice expresses every ounce of emotion her character feels with an insightful maturity that goes well beyond her 15 years.
Julian Lokash is a delight to watch as the disabled Archie, who uses his handicap to guilt Evan into setting him up on a date with the popular Kendra. Lokash’s powerful voice, comedic timing, and larger-than-life personality are highlighted by the showstopping “Get Me What I Need”. As the backstabbing mean girl Lucy, Michelle Creber is magnificently evil. Playing a cheerleader with claws underneath her pom-poms, Creber unleashes her sensational voice in songs such as “It Can’t Be True”, where she attempts to destroy Kendra’s social standing in a matter of minutes.
Nicol Spinola’s creative choreography takes us into the world and heads of the teens, bringing to life the cheerleading field in “Opportunity”, going inside the hormonal teenage mind in the boy-band-inspired “Hey Kendra”, and featuring boys popping out of lockers for the imaginative “Bad Bad News”.
Bring on Tomorrow’s 13: The Musical is a thrilling opportunity to watch a cast of stellar young triple-threat performers shine in full force. While there’s nothing really innovative about the story, it’s exciting to watch fresh interpretations of age-old teenage archetypes, and to see these rising stars in action before they take off.