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'13' is Brown's Lucky Number

13poster Songwriter Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Urban Cowboy) will soon be back on the Great White Way. It’s been announced that 13, A New Musical begins previews September 16 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, with opening slated for October 6. During its January 2007 world premiere run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, our review referred to this melodic lark as “a smashing new musical about the difficult rite of passage from childhood innocence to teenage panic.” That production earned L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for outstanding production, Brown’s score, David O’s music direction, and the ensemble cast. The show was tweaked during a subsequent staging at Connecticut’s Goodspeed Opera House. In a recent Associated Press interview, producer Bob Boyett said “Work has been done to broaden the show’s appeal and make it not only for young people but for a wider audience.”

Brown

This is the latest in a string of new musicals making their debuts at L.A.’s Center Theatre Group prior to Broadway premieres, under the leadership of artistic director Michael Ritchie. The Dolly Parton tuner 9 to 5, which opens at the Ahmanson Theatre in September, already has a confirmed Broadway date. Other CTG shows that have made this journey in recent years are the Tony-winning The Drowsy Chaperone, the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Rupert Holmes frolic Curtains, David Henry Hwang’s revised Flower Drum Song, and the co-production of Big River with Deaf West Theatre.

Brown (pictured above) won a Tony for his first Broadway score, for 1998’s Parade, which was recently presented in a terrific West Coast premiere at Neighborhood Playhouse in Ranchos Palos Verdes.  See our review: www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/la/review_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003831912

Here's hoping that 13 scores the Broadway success that it deserves.

--Les Spindle

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