Posted on September 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Jason Robert Brown Directs West End Premiere of 13 in 2012
Date: 28 September 2011

The National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) will return to the West End next year presenting two shows by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown who will cross the Atlantic to direct his 2008 Broadway musical 13.

Producer Jeremy Walker told he had original approached Brown to host a master class for members of NYMT, many of whom perform Brown’s songs at the company’s auditions.

When Walker said he had hoped to produce 13 with NYMT’s younger performers, aged 11 to 16, Brown signed on to direct.

Premiered in Los Angeles in 2007, 13 transferring to Broadway for a short-lived run in October 2008. The show has music and lyrics by Brown and book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. The story centres on 13-year-old Evan Goldman as he moves from New York City to Indiana, and how the move conflicts with his Bar Mitzvah.

Billed as a “hilarious, high-energy musical for all ages”, the show played 105 performances and 22 previews at New York’s Bernard B Jacobs Theatre closing on 4 January 2009.

NYMT, which counts Hannah Jane Fox, Matt Lucas, Jonny Lee Miller and Gina Beck among its alumni and has Tom Chambers and Jude Law as patrons, will take over the Apollo Theatre from 22 to 25 August 2011 to stage 13.

The company will also stage Brown’s 1995 off-Broadway song cycle Songs for a New World with direction by Sarah Redmond and choreography by Cristian Valle. That production, which will be cast with performers ages 16 to 23, will run from 1 to 4 August with venue still to be confirmed.

Founded in 1976, NYMT were last seen in the West End with their surprise hit production of Bugsy Malone which played an 11-week run at the Queen’s Theatre in 1997. That production had a cast which included Award-winner Sheridan Smith.

Jason Robert Brown‘s other major works include The Last 5 Years, which was produced on the West End as part of Notes from New York, held on three consecutive Sundays at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and starring Julie Atherton; Parade, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998 directed by Harold Prince for which Brown won the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Rob Ashford directed the Donmar Warehouse’s 2008 production and the musical was recently revived at Southwark Playhouse.