Young Actors’ Theatre’s ‘13 the new musical’ opens with strong performances

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New York City to limited, limited, limited small town life. Spring Valley’s Young Actors’ Theater effectively uses minimalist set design via stark slides projected on a background screen.  The use of these slides shows the main character in “13- a new musical” Evan Goldman‘s jolting life change to “limited” when he is moved to a small town in Indiana from New York City due to his parent’s divorce. Right before his 13th birthday and his passage to manhood, his Bar Mitzvah.

New York City to limited, limited, limited small town life. Spring Valley’s Young Actors’ Theater effectively uses minimalist set design via stark slides projected on a background screen.  The use of these slides shows the main character in “13- a new musical” Evan Goldman‘s jolting life change to “limited” when he is moved to a small town in Indiana from New York City due to his parent’s divorce. Right before his 13th birthday and his passage to manhood, his Bar Mitzvah.

Picture a New York City skyline shot to a deserted one-main-street dying Mid-western ghost town.

Y.A.T. effectively showcases the teen mindset (using two separate teen casts) very vividly and the emotional world of teen life. Part culture shock, how to make new friends in a small town, and part the quest for “tongue” or a French kiss and love amongst teens. All using dialogue, song, dance, and a five-piece live band with humorous one-liners to tell the story.

As Evan, (Ryan Singer), on opening night May 28, prepares for his impending Bar Mitzvah in his new home, he encounters a neighbor Patrice, performed beautifully by Cora Nicholls, and begins his education in teen life as it happens in a small town. And it is not a pretty teen life. Funny but not pretty all the while Evan is trying to pull off his big Bar Mitzvah party bash.

World’s collide between the popular teens and the outcasts.

Director and choreographer, Perry Lee, uses dance beautifully as is exhibited in his boy dance and song number about bad news women (teen girls) performed with physical wit by Brock Stermer, Damon Ojeda, Blake Brown, and Isaac Laddon. Lee also incorporates all levels of dance skills in the group numbers. Ashley Guzman brims with youthful enthusiasm and smooth dance moves.

Catherine Tarlov as Lucy, the Machiavellian teen manipulator, hits the mark completely in pulling off behind the teen mob scene’s dirty tricks. Giovanni Huidor plays Archie, a disabled town outcast, with such realism it was amazing to see him move freely and smoothly after the play out of character.

Brett, played by Asher Parsons, is the main teen heartthrob, who is like a ball in a pinball machine ricocheting between Lucy and the character Kendra, played by Bella Snyder. Parson’s braces, either by costume design or real life, are just a part of the on-the-mark costume design of a current teens’ wardrobe implemented by a team of costumers Tiffani Oliver, Marcee Drysdale, Sarah Vadeboncoeur, Raquel Huidor, and Debbie Shlerf.

The musical throws out all the youthful energy one could want from a full cast of teens. A few microphone issues had to be ironed out on opening night but the voices typically rang clear and sweet with boy-hormones-changing crackling voices coupled with sweet teen-girl soprano voices.

Charm abounds in this production with small theatre life scenarios that use actors to change props, moms to sew costumes, and first-musical-they-ever-did teen singers and dancers. The charm is there and can be witnessed until June 7. Visit Encore! Theatre –Young Actor’s Theatre’s website at www.yatsandiego.org for more information on this musical and other up-coming programs.

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