The path to adulthood is never easy. Never more so than for 12-year-old Evan. He is not only coping with the pressure of his upcoming Bar Mitzvah but, as a result of his parents’ divorce, he is being forced to move from the Jewish social haven of Manhattan to Appelton, Indiana, a town so isolated its where “UFOs go to refuel”.

Dan Elish’s book for 13 light-heartedly explores the gamut of teenage social issues (the anguish brought on by peer pressure, friendship, fear and families) through Evan’s journey to find his place in a new town, a new school, a new life and the grown-up world in general. As with all good storylines, Evan is left to wrestle the pros and cons of popularity versus integrity. Sense wins out in the end, but not before many life lessons are learned. Premiered in LA in 2007 with an all teenage cast and band, 13 transferred to Broadway the following year and received several award nominations despite its relatively short run in both cities. Jason Robert Brown’s score is as finely constructed as ever and along with first-time co-lyricist, Robert Horn, more than successfully bridged the gap between book and stage.

In time for the school holidays, BustCo’s new production of 13 is described by director Tyler Hess as a “balance between sharp physical comedy, witty visual gags and clever black humour” appealing to a range of audiences with elements of “Simpsons”-style pop-culture, in a technology-based production.

The young cast of “pre-teens”, headed up by Josh Gavin and Jacqueline Levitas, will be joined by Steve Simmons and Brigid De’Neefe in the adult roles, creating a lively mix of energy, experience and strength. Leading the production musically is WAAPA and Monash music graduate, Natalie Reid who along with Tyler Hess, was creatively responsible for BustCo’s highly successful Australian non-professional premiere of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundels’, the production receiving many Music Theatre Guild and Lyrebird Award nominations.

Co-producer, Alexandra Cole is thrilled that this upcoming production is 

taking 23 years of fun and exciting shows produced by BustCo to the next level. As a brand new and, by amateur companies, seldom performed show, ‘13’ is certainly a challenge, but one that is shaping up to be fantastic. BustCo aims to provide a fun and inviting environment for all its members and audiences alike, maintaining its reputation for the highest standards and creating opportunities for both experienced and new artists. Without question 13 ticks all those boxes and a few more as well.With 6 performances perfectly scheduled for the school holidays, 13 is definitely a family outing. Tickets are reasonably priced at $28 with a concession price of $24, and for every ticket sold BustCo will be donating $1 to Jim Styne’s Reach Foundation “encouraging all young people, no matter what their circumstances, to believe they can achieve” (http://www.reach.org.au). Bookings can be made via the internet under http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=12435and further information about cast and crew and BustCo itself can be found at http://www.bustco.com.au/shows-and-tickets.html.

IN BRIEF

Show:  13 by Jason Robert Brown, Dan Elish and Robert Horn
Company: BustCo (Burwood Student Theatre Company)
Venue:  Kel Watson Theatre – Forest Hill College, 178 Mahoneys Road,
Burwood East
Dates: Wednesday September 28th, 8pm
Thursday September 29th, 8pm
 Friday September 30th, 2pm
Friday September 30th, 8pm
Saturday October 1st, 8pm
Sunday October 2nd, 7pm (Twilight show)
Prices: $28 / $24 (concession and BustCo members)

 

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