Friday, January 23, 2015

review - 13 - Theater Works / Youth Works

Sam Primack
(photo: Wade Moran)
For more information on this show that runs through Feb, 1st, click here.

"Teen angst is something most of us experienced during our middle school and high school years. 13 musicalizes that dreaded feeling of depression and the need to fit in that most youngsters encounter when dealing with the stress of school, and it achieves a fairly successful end result. Theater Works' Youth Works just opened a smashing production of the musical featuring an exceptionally gifted group of teenagers.  Jason Robert Brown's score has plenty of things to like, with nice melodies and inventive lyrics, and a few songs you'll find yourself humming days later. While there isn't any new ground covered in the overly familiar story, the book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn is well written with some very funny dialogue.  The cast for this production is quite good. Sam Primack is exceptional as Evan. His vocal prowess on his many songs combined with his ability to achieve emotion in his line delivery are superb. Likewise, both Emilio Cress who plays Archie and Olivia Watters who portrays Patrice are excellent. Cress is a gifted comic, and manages through his solo songs just fine. Watters is a wonderful singer and performer and, like Cress, knows how to deliver a punch line.   Director Johanna Carlisle, who just gave a smashing performance in several key parts in Phoenix Theatre's Mary Poppins, makes her directorial debut with this production. You'd never guess this was her first time directing, as the skill and achievement are exceptional. Choreographer Lynzee 4Man delivers a nice variety of steps and movements throughout, and her husband Mark 4Man, as usual, provides great music direction with some excellent harmonies from the large cast.  13 is ultimately a musical that shows how it is better to be yourself than to try to be someone you're not just so others can like you. Theater Works' Youth Works production is a joyful experience filled with gifted actors and singers, including the exceptional Sam Primack in the lead, and an excellent directorial debut from Johanna Carlisle." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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