Thirteen young actors, including one each from Lake Oswego and West Linn, will open the Oregon premiere of the hit Broadway musical '13' tonight at The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, 1785 N.E. Sandy Blvd. in Portland.
Produced by Staged! Musical Theatre Series, the musical features West Linn's Olivia Klugman (Lucy) and Caroline Haroldson (Kendra) of Lake Oswego and an onstage rock band made up of Lakeridge High School musicians Jackson Walker, Kyle Winkler and Ozzie Berg and others from Portland's School of Rock.
With an explosive, rollicking, sophisticated score, '13' is a high-energy musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it.
The musical is about Evan Goldman, who has it all - he's popular, has the perfect family and lives in the greatest city in the world - New York. That is until his parents get divorced and he's forced to move with his mother to Indiana. Uprooted from his old life, he has to make new friends and somehow maneuver his way through the minefield of high school to become part of the 'in crowd.' '13' is a grown-up story about growing up.
Haroldson has appeared in professional theater performances since she was 8 with Lakewood Theatre Company, Northwest Children's Theatre and most recently played Little Cosette in the Staged! production of 'Les Miserables.'
'13: The Musical' is Klugman's first professional production, though she made her singing debut at age 6 in a New York cabaret with her grandmother, Brett Somers. She has performed with Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company and Lakewood Theatre Company and last summer toured Scotland and the U.K. in the Elite Travel Troupe's original production of 'The American Express.'
The actresses play best friends in '13.'
'Kendra is the most popular girl in school,' said Haroldson. '(She) appears sweet, but is actually incredibly shallow, artificial and materialistic. She doesn't seem to care that she's used by boys, manipulated by girls, and is OK with being judged solely on appearances. The audience will recognize she makes really poor decisions.'
'I play Lucy, the 'mean' girl, who is very manipulative and wants to be the Queen Bee of the school,' said Klugman. 'She's jealous of her best friend, Kendra, and is always trying to control her.'
Created by Tony award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown and writers Dan Elish and Robert Horn, the musical originally featured the only all-teen cast to ever be on Broadway.
'It's a very honest depiction of what it's like to be 13,' said Klugman. 'It shows what 13-year-olds really care about, and that can be really funny sometimes.
'It defines middle school so well, because Jason Robert Brown, the composer, is not afraid to show the ridiculous, obnoxious and misguided sides of junior high.'
Both girls said the experience has created a lasting bond among the cast, perhaps because they are all teens and can identify so strongly with the show.
'I think anyone who sees it will identify with the characters and recall the total awkwardness of middle school,' said Haroldson. 'I also think they'll love the music.'
'I hope they understand that it actually is hard to be 13, because it's the height of when you are really trying to figure out who you are,' said Klugman. 'Along with that, it's the time when being liked or 'popular' seems so important and I hope that the young teenagers in the audience realize that they should pick their friends based on their character as opposed to their social status. I also hope people are very entertained by the performance.'
The musical opens tonight and runs through Feb. 25 with shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There is a special Monday night show on Feb. 13.
Pre-show chats will be held Feb. 12 and 19 at 1 p.m. The chat on Feb. 12 will feature several speakers and popular writers talking about rituals that symbolize growing up, 'Bar, Bat and Beyond.' On Feb. 19 a psychologist and a neuroscientist will team up to talk about 'The Adolescent Brain.' Both are free and open to the public.
Tickets are $18 for seniors and students. General admission is $24. Tickets can be purchased online at www.stagedpdx.org or through BrownPaperTickets and at the door.
Staged! Musical Theatre Series is committed to nurturing artists and providing opportunities for young people. To learn more visit www.stagedpdx.org or call 971-322-5723.