My We Love Ann Arbor preview of Tappan Players’ ’13: The Musical’

The cast of Tappan Players’ “13: The Musical.” (Photo by Kristina Crow)

Reilly Conlon, director of this year’s Tappan Players musical production (“13”), reportedly told her middle school student cast, “This show is everything you want to say to your parents, wrapped up in a musical.”

Why? Because the show, which premiered on Broadway in 2008 (with a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown), tells the story of 12 year old Evan, a New York kid who lands in a small Indiana town when his parents get divorced. While preparing for his bar mitzvah and adjusting to a new town and school, Evan gets caught up in a number of tween dramas. His first friend and neighbor, Patrice, develops a crush on Evan, but at school, she’s a social pariah; and while Evan schemes to get the most popular kid in school to attend his bar mitzvah, Patrice and others get caught in the crossfire.

“The reason we chose ’13’ is because it’s about the kids that are in it,” said Conlon. “We thought it was a great way to tell … stories that are relatable to kids in their age group. And the music is incredibly modern. It’s easy to grab onto, and get into, and be passionate about.”

Photos by Kristina Crow

That’s not to say that the music is technically simple, however. Far from it.

“The music is incredibly difficult,” said Conlon. “Jason Robert Brown is the composer, and he writes some of the most difficult music in the theater world today. To have (the student performers) tackle that is a challenge, but they’ve been very open to it, and very hardworking throughout the process. They’ve really made great strides.” READ THE REST HERE

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