THE first Broadway production to star an all teenage cast is being staged in Perth as part of the FRINGE WORLD Festival 2015, focusing on the life of 13-year-olds.
With music and lyrics by popular musical theatre composer Jason Robert Brown, the aptly-titled 13 – being performed at Playlovers Theatre – follows Evan who, just shy of becoming a teenager, suddenly has to cope with his parents’ divorce and a move from New York to Indiana.
As he prepares for his impending bar mitzvah, Evan has to navigate the complicated social circles of a new school where he tries to fit in and become popular with a new group of kids.
“13 is a musical about growing up,” director Kimberley Shaw said. “In the past few years, I’ve noticed a huge amount of talent among kids this age in Perth and decided I wanted to do a show using this talent.
“I love 13 and feel it features an age group usually forgotten by producers, who cater for children and young adults, but forget or ignore the age group in between.
“Although it features teenagers, it’s a great show that will be enjoyed by young and old alike.”
Involved in theatre for more than 20 years, Shaw has worked with Blak Yak, KADS, Playlovers, Roleystone and Kwinana Theatres and is a former president and current committee member of the Independent Theatre Association.
She has several awards to her credit, twice-winning best production and best youth production at Dramafest, the annual state drama festival, and also twice-scoring the best musical gong at the Finley Awards.
With 13, the musical is also something of a family affair for Shaw with her daughters Madeleine, Elisabeth and Stephanie involved in the production.
Stephanie plays the quirky and offbeat role of Patrice and Elisabeth is stage manager while Madeleine is the musical director (with Stephen Beerkens).
“I thought it would be a challenge working with young, inexperienced people,” Shaw said.
“But I’ve found that not only does this cast have reams of experience under their belts – it’s also one of the most professional casts with whom I’ve ever worked.
“They are beautiful and hard-working actors and a delight to direct.”
13 plays at 7.30pm, February 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14, 5pm February 8 and 2pm February 14. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book at http://www.fringeworld.com.au/program/event/bd523218-d769-4339-9e7e-b4ab93575122.
Playlovers Theatre is located at Hackett Hall, Draper Street (off Underwood Avenue), Floreat.
FRINGE WORLD Festival 2015 will be held from January 23 to February 22.
Thirteen-A: The cast of the musical 13, featuring 13 characters all aged 13. Picture: Blank Canvas Productions.
Thirteen-B: Seamus Harrison is Evan and Stephanie Shaw is Patrice in the stage musical 13. Picture: Blank Canvas Productions.
Thirteen-C: Maddison Thomas, left, Alexia D'Alesio, Asha Vivian, Chloe Marlow and Bianca Thomas in front play cheerleaders in 13, a musical about growing up. Picture: Blank Canvas Productions.
Thirteen-D: Some of the cast of 13: at rear are Hamish Briggs, left, Seamus Harrison, Asha Vivian and Matthew Manning; in front are Stephanie Shaw, Maddison Thomas, Bianca Thomas and Chloe Marlow. Picture: Blank Canvas Productions.
Playlovers has been in operation for more than 50 years. Generally performing from Hackett Hall, Draper Street, Floreat, the company puts on four to six seasons a year - including one to two musicals.
Members are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the club: on the creative side (performing, directing, etc), the more technical activities (lighting, backstage, set-building, costume-making, etc) or on the sidelines (serving teas and coffees, and generally helping with other front of house activities).
P: (08) 9291 5045