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If, in their very different ways, the Broadway musical Spring Awakening and the TV movie musical franchise High School Musical treated the subject of teenage concerns, the Broadway musical 13, with music by Jason Robert Brown, goes them one better, moving the focus earlier to the cusp of adolescence; you might call it "Junior High School Musical." Featuring a cast entirely made up of teenagers, 13 tells the story of Evan Goldman (Graham Phillips), who is turning 13 just as his parents divorce and his mother moves him from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to a small town in Indiana. Evan's goal is to fit in at Dan Quayle Junior High and get the coolest kids to attend his imminent bar mitzvah, which involves him in the budding romantic interests of those kids as well as the problems of his more natural comrades among the ordinary members of the student body. With a contemporary setting, 13 seems to call for the kind of contemporary teen pop music heard in High School Musical, but Brown's take on what "contemporary pop" means seems to be '70s pop
ock, not exactly what you'd expect kids born circa 1995 to be performing. Nevertheless, they do, even extending to creamy soul music in the manner of Philadelphia International Records ("Hey Kendra") and reggae ("It Can't Be True"). Brown also provides some traditional Broadway show music ("Terminal Illness") and '50s doo wop complete with piano triplets ("Opportunity"). But his basic idea of what 13 year olds in 2008 would be grooving to is catchy rock songs that include screaming (if usually brief) electric guitar solos. The music supports serviceable lyrics that trace the complicated ups and downs of early adolescent social interaction. Happily, those lyrics are sung by an earnest and talented cast whose members sound not far removed from the feelings the lyrics express. Still, 13 on disc comes off as a show that wasn't really ready for Broadway. (A closing notice went up shortly before this album was released, giving 13 a three-month run.) Middle schools around America are always looking for musicals to do, however, and this one may have a long life there.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/23/2009
Label: Ghostlight
UPC: 0791558131321
catalogNumber: 81313

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jason Robert Brown   Piano
Charles Rosen   Bass
Eamon Foley   Vocals
Graham Phillips   Vocals
Tom Kitt   Piano,Musical Direction
Joey LaVarco   Vocals
Malik Hammond   Vocals
Zac Coe   Percussion,Drums
Ariana Grande   Vocals
Adam Michael Kaufman   Keyboards
Brynn Williams   Vocals
Delaney Moro   Vocals
Zach Page   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Allie Trimm   Vocals
Eric M. Nelsen   Vocals
Chris Raymond   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Caitlin Gann   Vocals
Lexi Bodick   Bass
Calderon   Vocals
Aaron Simon Gross   Vocals
Jason Robert Brown   Piano
Elizabeth Gillies   Vocals

Technical Credits

Robert Horn   Book,Synopsis
Jeffrey Lesser   Producer,Engineering
Bill Rosenfield   Executive Producer
Jason Robert Brown   Lyricist,Producer
Kurt Deutsch   Executive Producer
John Blane   Supervising Copyist
Missy Webb   Engineer
Liz Caplan   Vocal Coach
Dan Elish   Book
Jason Robert Brown   Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Bojan Dugic   Engineer

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