Veros review: '13, the musical'

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2012

By Lindsay Veros
For the Salisbury Post
Do you remember what it is like to be 13? Maybe that was just last year or even 30 years ago.
A trip to the Norvell Theatre to see “13, the Musical” will certainly refresh your memory.
This show covers every 13-year-old dilemma: divorced parents, moving away, having a different religion, fitting in and being accepted, growing up, not liking your parents, stealing your best friend’s boyfriend, your first kiss, gossip, rumors, moving on and putting one foot in front of the other.
Whew! I think this show covers it all.
The set appears to be quite simple, painted in solid black; but don’t let this fool you. Once the show begins, the back wall of the set serves as three giant projection screens, which display a slideshow of graphics throughout the performance. Digital projectors and computers project numerous images onto the screens, with several different ones being displayed every scene.
PPT Director Reid Leonard was the mastermind behind this brilliant concept, with all credit for the displayed images and photography going to former PPT youth veteran Will Merrick.
There is also a live orchestra, which plays the 18 musical numbers. And two electric guitarists, who are also teenagers, make stage appearances.
The cast’s costumes are everyday modern teen outfits that were suggestions of PPT’s costume designer, Shelley Porter-Walker. Shelley also takes credit for the hand-sewn cheerleader costumes and the custom-made Dairy Queen hats.
Evan Goldman, the main character played by returning youth actor Jacob Hammill, is a 13-year-old Jewish boy who quickly informs the audience that his life has gone to hell. In Evan’s opening monologue and musical number, performed flawlessly by Jacob (who is amazingly talented, by the way), he reveals that his parents are getting divorced, his dad had an affair, he has to have a perfect bar mitzvah, and his mom is moving him from New York City to Appleton, Ind.
Upon his arrival in Appleton, Evan meets his neighbor Patrice, the school freak played by Abby Robinette, who instantly falls for him. Abby’s portrayal of Patrice is close to perfect, with her talent level for a 13-year-old being unexpected. Just wait until you hear her voice.
Patrice’s best friend Archie, a handicapped kid with a degenerative disease, is played by William Clark. William plays this part with frequent humor. His character clearly displays self-confidence despite having physical limitations.
Be prepared for this character to steal your heart.
Together, this trio forms a friendship known by the popular crowd as the brain, the freak and the cripple.
At every typical school there is the popular crowd, and this school is no different. There is Brett, played by returning youth actor Keaton Brower, who is the school jock every girl dreams of dating. Then there is Lucy, played perfectly by Susannah Dixon, with a lot of enthusiasm. Known as the manipulator, she takes advantage of her best friend, Kendra, who is played by Lexie Sebastyn, a newcomer to PPT but definitely not a newcomer to performing. These two characters are best friends, cheerleaders and are both chasing after the school jock, Brett.
Here’s the problem: Brett likes both of them and this is where their dilemma begins. There is even a song brilliantly performed by Brett and two of his friends and fellow jocks, Malcom (Jayln McCombs) and Eddie (Joe Cornacchione), which will have you laughing uncontrollably. Later in the show, two other jocks, Richie (Zach Robinette) and Simon (Josh Doyle), join this ensemble in a musical number that is hysterical. While demonstrating rhythmic challenges, they keep the crowd roaring. This number leaves you wanting to see it performed again.
Along with the teenage dilemmas come teenage humor and mild language, however not frequent. There are strong and frequent references to French kissing and minor references to second and third base, although details are not given. Therefore, I would not recommend this show for young children.
While the show probably isn’t for everyone, I highly recommend seeing this young but outstanding cast’s performance of the Broadway hit, “13, the Musical.” You may just be glad that you are not 13 again!
“13” continues at the Norvell Theater tonight and July 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and July 15, 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets call 704-633-5471.
Lindsay Veros is a 10th-grade student at Salisbury High School.