Posted on January 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm

So saith Kenneth Jones here.

Hormonal, But Not Atonal: Goodspeed Will Present Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish’s 13
By Kenneth Jones
30 Jan 2008

Tickets go on sale Feb. 24 for the spring East Coast premiere of 13, the new Jason Robert Brown-Dan Elish musical that will play Goodspeed Musicals’ Norma Terris Theatre.

Performances will begin May 9 at the intimate Chester, CT, venue where Goodspeed incubates new works. The design team for the project was announced Jan. 28. Casting of the teen-age band members and performers is ongoing.

13, as the title suggests, concerns “coming of age, teen traumas and middle school survival.”

The design team includes the current Sunday in the Park with George‘s David Farley (sets and costumes) and Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt (lighting).

Casting is by Mark Simon Casting. Rehearsals begin April 7. The casting call is seeking “young performers ages 12-15, any ethnicity, to play 13-year-olds.”

Music and lyrics are by Tony Award winner Brown (Parade), with a book by Elish (known for his youth fiction).

Goodspeed performances will play May 9-June 8. Broadway producer Bob Boyett is in the wings to take to the show to a wider commercial life.

Here’s how Goodspeed bills it: “With a blast of high voltage energy, an all teen cast navigates the ups and downs of turning 13. Fresh from New York City, the new kid in town is desperate to fit in, survive middle school and get all the ‘cool kids’ to attend his impending bar mitzvah. Every day he faces a new teen trauma: cell phones and rumors, first dates and first kisses, cliques, clashes and crushes.”

The “brightly infectious score” include such song titles as “Being a Geek,” “Brand New You” and “What It Means to Be a Friend.”

Jeremy Sams (who directed Broadway’s recent Noises Off and penned the books to Amour and Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang) will direct 13.

Choreography is by Christopher Gattelli (Altar Boyz and the current Sunday in the Park With George).


13 was originally commissioned and produced (in January 2007) by the Center Theatre Group, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Commercial producer Boyett, who was involved in the L.A. production, previously told that the musical is Broadway-bound.

“I’m very excited,” Boyett said in early 2007. “It’s one of the freshest and most fun shows to come along. It’s a coming-of-age story that everyone can relate to.”

The eventual Broadway production pricetag is $6-$7 million. Todd Graff directed the Mark Taper run.

Composer Brown is also at work on Honeymoon in Vegas, a new musical with a book by Andrew Bergman that is based on Bergman’s 1992 movie of the same name. A revised version of his and Alfred Uhry’s Parade opened in London in 2007 and was embraced by critics and subsequently recorded on CD. For more information, call the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668 or visit


Dedicated to “the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and additional productions at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals.”

It is the only regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement). Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater.

Michael P. Price is executive director of Goodspeed Musicals.