Panic! Productions continues its third season with the musical “13 ,” April 10 through 19 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks. The high-energy show, with a cast of 19 teens, features music and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown, with a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. The production is directed by Broadway and Hollywood veteran Barry Pearl, with choreography by Keenon Hooks and musical direction by Diann Alexander. A hilarious, coming-of-age musical about discovering that “cool” is sometimes where we least expect it, “13” follows Evan Goldman as he moves from New York City to a small Indiana town. Grappling with his parents’ divorce, and preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, Evan navigates the complicated social circles of a new school.
“13” made Broadway history as the only show to ever feature an exclusively teenage cast. Following in that tradition, it marks the first all-youth musical produced by Panic! Productions. “We have featured young performers alongside adults in such previous shows as Working, A Tigglemeister Christmas, and The Panic! Holiday Radio Hour,” says producer Paul Panico. “But, with ‘13’ we are giving the kids a chance to shine on their own and have the rare opportunity to work with a creative team of industry veterans in a professional-level show.”
Producer Kristi Reed believes Panic! has found the perfect director for the project in Barry Pearl, who himself made his Broadway debut as a child of ten in Bye Bye Birdie and later appeared in the original cast of Oliver! Film fans know him from his role as Doody in Grease. “ If one is lucky enough, one has or will become 13 years of age, one just cannot escape ‘it,’” Pearl says. “‘It’ here, meaning everything ‘coming of age’ means. ‘13’ explores, with musical aplomb, the highs and lows, trials and tribulations, the ‘should we kiss on the first, second or third date’ decisions of ‘becoming (in this story’s case) a man.’ Look out Peter Pan, I am gonna grow up and I’m comin’ at it with a vengeance!”
Appearing in “13” are Sam Herbert, Carly Shukiar, Samuel Thacker, Antonia Vivino, Delaney Joy, Elaine Panico, Gabriel Nunag, Mackinnley Balleweg, Mateo Gonzalez, Liam Krainman. Mason Purece, Madeline Gambon, Batya Conn, Zoë Reed, Tate Downing, Ally Kaplan, Jade McGlynn, Allison Martinez, and Joey Maya.
“13” opens Friday, April 10 at 8 pm and continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm through April 19. Tickets are $22/$20 students, seniors, and children, with group rates available, and can be purchased at www.hillcrestarts.com, by calling 805/381-1246, or by visiting the box office. The Hillcrest Center for the Arts is at 403 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks.