As you make your plans for next weekend, make sure you include The Fine Arts Network Production of “13 – The Musical” which is running through January 16th at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater. Expertly directed by J. Scott Lapp, “13 – The Musical” is a witty tale of tween angst and friendship that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Filled with humor and heart, it will remind our generation of an updated “Grease” and the younger crowd of a fresh take on “Glee.” Written by Robert Horn originally preformed on Broadway, this comedic take on a young man’s journey to the ripe old age of thirteen is a “can’t miss.”
Our hero is Evan, a going-on-thirteen year old with more than a few obstacles to face. Born and raised in New York City, he is abruptly uprooted to Indiana on the heels of his parents divorce. Just weeks away from what he had planned as the “best Bar Mitzvah ever,” he finds himself alone and friendless in the middle of nowhere (The Lamest Place In The World). Deftly portrayed by Troy Hussmann, Evan is a flawed, but likable kid trying to figure out how to become a man (13/Becoming a Man). Hussmann’s experience with national theater and film are evident as he commands the stage. Though a talented signer and dancer, his acting skills truly impress as he reveals the confusion and insecurity that drive Evan’s journey. Evan’s fantasies of becoming one of the Cool Kids are most hilariously played out in the day dream sequences such as “All Hail The Brain” as he imagines the entire school, uh well, worshiping him.
As the story unfolds, new kid Evan is befriend by Patrice (played by Jordan DeLeon) and Archie (played by Austyn Myers) and is forced to chose between them and the Cool Kids as they are Outcasts in the school.
DeLeon’s performance as the betrayed friend is sensitive and spot on. Already an Outcast, Patrice is devastated by Evan’s choice to abandon her for the Cool Kids (What It Means To Be A Friend). She taps into the emotions of a thirteen-year-old girl with grace, especially as she sings. DeLeon’s rich voice fills the room and your heart with the pain of Patrice as she struggles with Evan’s rejection.
Myers’ Archie is one of the highlights of the musical. This young man’s performance credits stretch a mile long and, not surprisingly, include Broadway. His comedic timing and delivery are stellar and his commitment to the physical demands of his role as a boy with a “Terminal Illness” is impressive.
Other highlights include Megan Flint as Lucy and Dylan Hyde as Eddie. Lucy is a Bad Girl trying to steal her best friend’s boyfriend, Brett the Jock (played by Michael Mahady). Featured in “Opportunity,” “Getting Ready” and “It Can’t Be True,” Flint give us an awesome performance as the girl we all love to hate. Eddie is one of the Jock’s best pals and Hyde’s portrayal is the one to watch in every ensemble performance (Hey Kendra, Bad, Bad News and more). His hilarious faces, gestures and quirks made me laugh out loud every time. I expect we will see a lot more of this young man as his singing voice is through-the-roof as well.
The entire cast is extremely talented with great performances by Michael Mahady as Brett, Jenna Wille as the Good Girl, Kendra, and Micah Woods as Malcolm. The set design, staging and choreography were truly impressive, and having the rock band on stage instead of in the orchestra pit was genius.
In this humorous, but tender tale of one kid’s journey, we see ourselves: the New Kid, the Outcast, the Brain, the Jock, the Good Girl, the Bad Girl, the Cool Kids, the Geeks. We find, as Evan does, that the labels we place on ourselves and others have little to do with who we really are and what we are capable of (A Little More Homework). Director J. Scott Lapp brings out the best in this story and in these young people. Though based in San Diego, he has blessed Temecula with his talent more than once in his 24 year career: most recently in the Fall of 2010 with “Fiddler on the Roof.” His upcoming projects will take him back to San Diego and then off to Broadway, so I was thrilled for the chance to attend this production and I know you will be too.
Click HERE for a Video Preview of the show. Awesome!
Click HERE for Box Office and Ticket Information.