Written on: 07/05/2012 by schelewilliams (1 review written)
13 – ROCKS MIAMI
A review by Schele Williams
In a small suburb of Miami, in a small little playhouse comes a musical that will knock your socks off from its opening beat to its final clap. Tony award winner, Jason Robert Brown’s “13 The Musical” opened on Friday at the adorable Main Street Playhouse in Miami Lakes. Saturday was my first visit to this venue, but it will not be my last. Entering the theatre your eyes are drawn to the New York skyline mixed with the music of today. The intimate theatre was filled with all ages eagerly anticipating a fun night of theater, but it turned out to be much more.
Greeted by Evan Goldman (Kyle Christensen), the audience is already rocking in their seats to the title song, performed with strength and intensity by the full company. When Evan finds he must have his Bar Mitzvah in Appleton, Indiana, we meet Patrice (Jessie), the school’s outcast. Even strikes up a “friendship” with Patrice until he is put under immense peer pressure by the other kids to sit at the popular table. Evan gives in and leaves Patrice to the side to follow the “cool kids.” The physically challenged Archie (Dylan Kaplan) enters the picture to help Evan find his was way with the new kids and strike a deal to date the hottest girl in town, Kendra (Carianne Older.) Throughout all the schemes and lies, Archie and Evan make a plan that completely backfires and leads to hilarity. “Any Minute” is a scene brilliantly directed in the movie theatre on date night. We see all sides of each character and even a special moment between Archie and the school’s jock (Zachary Weinstein.) Just as much of a schemer as Archie comes Lucy (Melissa Bibliowicz) the schools token mean girl, who’s plan to manipulate her best friends life and everyone else seems all too familiar. With a school named after Dan Quayle, a tampon machine and texting galore, “13” will bring you right into today’s youth.
The cast as a whole is solid, with rising anthems sung to make your eyes well up. Jessie Hoffman shines as Patrice, with her sweet and soft ballads to her dramatic turn, Miss Hoffman all but steals the show with her power house song “Good Enough.” Dylan Kaplan brings humor and warmth to Archie, without making his disability overpower him. Kyle Christensen makes a believable Evan. Melissa Bibliowicz controls the stage as Lucy and has pure vocal power unlike others her age. Finally, Keith Martinez and Jonah Stabinski all but run away with each scene they are in as the jock’s cronies. With perfect timing and great chemistry, these two actors are a force to be reckoned with.
With one of the most rockin’ bands I have heard in South Florida, Ed Sagi, Andrew Gilbert and Jake Oliver bring the score to life and to today’s time. It is a true gem to have live music in a small setting. The sets are innovatively designed by Michael Stopnick with an electrifying lighting design by Marcelo Ferreira. Organizing 12 young actors is a task in itself, but making them sing, dance and act all in one is a major accomplishment, that is entirely done, to near precision by director/choreographer Tom Creatore. With his quick wit direction and perfectly fitting, yet extremely fun dances, Mr. Creatore is a true find at Main Street and I know will be up and coming in the future of South Florida Theatre.
You still have 2 weekends to catch this tiny treasure in Miami Lakes. See what life is like through the eyes of 13 thirteen year olds, while wanting to sing and dance along with them.
The Main Street Players Present “13 the Musical”, May 4th – May 20th. Visit www.mainstreetplayers.com for information and tickets.