The drama, and the music, of being ‘13’

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
So you’re 13 years old and you’re pretty popular and cool, living in the big city.
And at the moment, you’re getting ready for the biggest event of your life.
Then you find out you’re moving… and not only are you moving, you’re moving to smalltown USA, and need to work your way back up to be part of the cool kids.
That’s the situation that 13-year-old Evan finds himself in the stage show, “13: The Musical,” which is being performed by the Steeple Players in Southington. At the start of the show, Evan lives in New York City. He’s preparing for the most momentous moment of a teenage boy in the Jewish faith—his bar mitzvah. And he wants his guest list to be legendary.
Then his mom pulls up stakes and shifts the family to Indiana. Suddenly, Jake must maneuver through the pecking order of middle school in a new place that’s entirely different than what he had come to know.
Keegan Smith, 15, has the lead role of Evan in “13.” “I like how he teaches a message,” said Keegan of his character. He said he likes how by the end of the story his character has learned its better to be friends with the people you want to know and not necessarily strive to be part of the cool crowd.
“It has a lot to it,” said Kelsey Sargent, 15, of the story in “13.” She said, “It’s a good lesson for kids.”
“I really like how it talks a lot of friendship,” said Jack Storm, 15.
Katarina Aulbach, 15, said the events that unfold for the characters on stage are true to life to her own middle school experiences. “There’s a bunch of drama and rumors… and boys and girls (in ’13’). That’s totally what it was like when I was 13.”
Ninety percent of what happens on stage reflects his own experiences at 13, said Jack. “There’s all these jokes, and they make so much sense, because we’ve done it.”
The story has a message. But the cast members also say it’s good entertainment.
“It’s just really funny,” said Jack “I really like all of the songs. They sound really awesome.”
“I like the music,” said Keegan. “The music is really fun. It’s good to sing.”
“I love the melodies,” said Kelsey. “(The songs) tell a good message.”
And Katarina said, “The dancing is really fun.”
Teens coming out to see “13” will like the show because “it’s very relatable…And these guys (in the cast) are incredibly talented,” said Keegan.
Grown-ups will like “13,” said Katarina because “there’s a lot of adult humor… they will enjoy how wonderful this cast has put it on. And they will enjoy just looking back when they were 13 and see how times have changed— but not really.”
The cast list for “13: The Musical” is: “Evan” – Keegan Smith; “Patrice” – Katarina Aulbach; “Kendra” – Kelsey Sargent; “Lucy” – Lydia Brown; “Brett” – Matthew Babicz; “Archie” – Jack Storm; “Malcolm” -Nick Breutzmann; “Eddie” – Haley Boucher; “Samantha” – Crystal Madore; “Richie” – Martino Gonzalez; “Julie” – Sydney Bradshaw; “Molly” – Ella Shamus-Udicious; “Cassie” – Brenna Smith; “Charlotte” – Madison Derynioski
Performances will be at Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 and 30, and Feb. 5 and 6 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Jan. 31.
Tickets at the door will be $18.