Where “Bye, Bye Birdie” left off in the 1950s, the new musical “13” picks up, it is a story about coming of age in 2012. The musical tells the story of 12 year-old Evan Goldman who is preparing to have his Bar Mitzvah. However, his life is about to change in more than one big way, when he is forced to move from his awesome life in New York City to the small town of Appleton, Indiana. Will he have friends to even go to his Bar Mitzvah?
This musical is the perfect coming of age story for our time, examining what life is like for young people when they are going through big changes in a technological filled world. The drama of being 13 is heightened with amazing music by Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown. Ovation Academy’s production is sure to blow the audience out of the water with killer vocals and stellar choreography.
For the young actors putting on this production the message hits close to home. It deals with everything they were experiencing just a couple of years ago. Brando Fermi Crawford is an incoming junior at OPRF and is a member of the cast who is excited for the message of the musical. “People say high school is dramatic, but junior high is where the real drama happens, people are breaking through new dimensions of what they want at this uncomfortable age.”
It really will be a musical for all ages to see. Cast member Yohana Ansari Thomas, a sophomore at OPRF thinks it is the perfect musical for parents. “I think parents are oblivious to what goes on in their children’s life when they are 13. If they were to ever see a show like this they wouldn’t believe it is true,” said Ansari Thomas.
Why this musical and why now? Artistic director Tina Reynolds reflected on her choice for Ovation saying, “it’s an important musical for parents to watch, to see how their kids are really growing up.” “This musical is one that needs to be heard, it gives a voice to young people expressing the how tumultuous it can be to grow up in this day and age,” she added.
The small cast made up of only 15 kids is working closely together perfecting intense choreography and tight vocal harmonies that is sure to light up the stage. It will be performance you do not want to miss. The message of the show is one for all, while growing up is hard, slowly finding your way is easier once you “learn what is true”.
The cast is in rehearsal as they sing beautiful harmonies, “I’m trying to follow, I’m trying to lead, I’m trying to learn what is true, I’m trying to be what you want and I need, but we all have a little more homework to do.” The cast is truly doing their homework and are taking this message to heart, perfecting a musical that is so close to their own hearts.
“13” will play Friday July 27 and Saturday July 28 at 7:30 at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, 325. S. Kenilworth, Oak Park, IL 60302.