by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish
directed by Todd Graff
originally produced at Center Theatre Group,
Los Angeles, CA.
through February 18, 2007
Subsequent production at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut. Opened on Broadway at the Bernard S. Jacobs Theatre October 5, 2008
Featuring a cast of thirteen 13 year olds and a teenaged rock band, 13 is a wild comedy about the frightening and fantastic years of adolescence in America. This exciting new musical takes place in a middle school in Indiana with a group of students who are sorting through the barrage of contradictory messages thrown their way, and through the comic perspectives and complex emotions of life at the crossroads. With its contagious energy and humor, 13 speaks to teens, parents, and anyone who thrived or just survived those tumultuous years of classes and cliques.
Soon after I moved to Los Angeles to run Center Theatre Group, I sat down to coffee with Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown. He told me about a musical he was working on about 13 year-olds and handed me a CD with four songs. I listened to it in the car and by the time I reached the office, I knew that we had to be involved. A quick phone call to Jason got the ball rolling. There was still a lot of work to done on the show, but our commitment to produce it was there.
In February 2006, we workshopped 13 with Jason, director Todd Graff and writer Dan Elish at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The energy from those young performers jumped off the stage just like the songs had jumped out at me in the car months earlier. There was no denying that 13 deserved a full-fledged production and it became part of the Taper’s new season.
This piece resonates with me not just because I am a parent of a son who went through that signal year and a daughter who is fast approaching it, but because this is about a particular time that is very significant for everybody. This is not just a show for 13-year olds. It is also for anyone who knows a 13-year old or anyone who has been a 13-year old.
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Dan Elish