ETC's 13-THE MUSICAL Packs A Youth-Filled Entertainment Punch! 

ETC's 13-THE MUSICAL Packs A Youth-Filled Entertainment Punch! 

13 - THE MUSICAL put a smile on my face from the time the youthful band took the stage until the ensemble energetically pumped out the encore number!

I admit that I had trepidation attending another musical about teen angst. I had walked out of a teen-centric musical at the end of ACT ONE a few years ago. This presentation of 13-THE MUSICAL definitely knows how to pack a youth-filled entertainment punch!

The set-up in ACT ONE is pretty straight forward. "13" focuses on 12 year old EVAN, who is coming up to his bar mitzvah. His parents are going through a divorce, his dad cheated on his mom with a stewardess, and suddenly Evan is uprooted from NYC to a small town in Indiana. The very thin plot revolves around Evan making sure his newly found friends in this small town attend his bar mitzvah and make it the best, happiest moment of his life.

The lead actors in this production are very well balanced. Evan, Elias Verheyen, becomes more charismatic as the musical progresses. His potential love interest and only moral compass in the show is Patrice, Colette Richardson (who exerts great vocal control and balances the syrupiness of her character). The high school football hero, Brett, is given a very truthful portrayal by Ryan Horton. Ryan strays away from playing the 2-dimensional "dumb jock" as just simple. Love triangle interest Kendra was confidently played by Kendra Cordick. And balancing the wire of political correctness was Matthew Tucker's Archie... who's crippling disability is used for comedic effect. The company has young actors of varying capabilities giving their all on stage!

There are a couple of scene stealers! Jen Shannon as Lucy plays the juiciest, evil scheming man-stealer I have ever seen! Her belting chops match her evil strength. OPPORTUNITY and IT CAN'T BE TRUE are my favorite numbers. The male chorus members steal the spotlight with a couple of great tunes as well including the ACT TWO opener BAD BAD NEWS! The standouts include the hilarious Jeremy Cruz (Malcolm), Cameron Leong (Eddie) and the adorably charismatic William Davis (Simon).

Hailey Fowler's choreography and Laura Reynolds' direction keep the show moving at a break-neck pace and the stage pictures are playful. Even when some of the male chorus members' dance steps are awkward, or an actor gives a nervous gesture, or the occasional pitchy note rings out, I just attribute it to the awkwardness of being 13 years old and it just adds a texture to the canvas of the musical (whether it was an accident or not)

There are indeed shortcomings in the musical itself. There are many questionable politically incorrect situations including "age appropriate" behaviors. There are religious stereotypes and the bad guys don't get their comeuppances. Although the musical speaks to teens (there are no adults in the show), I think there are enough energetic catchy numbers and "adult" jokes to appease the parents of said teens.

Is it a perfect production of a perfect show??? NO!!! Was I entertained?? YES! Have I become a new fan of teen-angst musicals??? THE JURY IS OUT! But go entertain yourself and catch 13- THE MUSICAL.

Directed by Laura Reynolds, Choreographed by Hailey Fowler, Vocal Directed by: Paolo Camila, Stage managed by Andie llyod. Publicity Manager: Hannah Madden- Krasnick. FULL PRODUCTION CREDITS at www.eternaltheatre.ca


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