Youth raise the roof performing ‘13 The Musical' in Honey Brook

Submitted photo Vagabond Acting Troupe cast for "13 The Musical."

The smash Broadway teen hit, 13 – The Musical, raises the roof on the Vagabond Acting Troupe’s stage at the Arts House on Fairview, 30 Fairview Road, Honey Brook for just four rockin’ performances on May 29, 30, 31 at 7 p.m. each night, and June 1 at 2 p.m.

Eighteen Junior Professional local teens and preteens are in the production.

“The musical 13 is one of the few Broadway musicals written specifically for a cast of middle school students,” says Vagabond Acting Troupe’s Executive Director, Aileen McCulloch, who directs the show along with the company resident music director, Jennifer Wilkin.

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“Next to Grease, which is usually performed by adults, 13 is one of the only shows available that really looks at life through the eyes of kids,” says McCulloch, who has directed over a dozen youth productions locally in the past couple of years, and directed 13 four years ago when the 21-year old Vagabond Acting Troupe moved into their formal home at 30 Fairview Road in Honey Brook. “Our youth ensemble is eating this one up! Any young person in middle school now, or anyone who remembers what it was like to be a middle-school student, will identify.”

Vagabond Acting Troupe employs the talents of 18 area tweens and teens to tell the coming of age story of soon to be 13-year-old Evan Goldman (played by Lionel McCulloch of Morgantown) who is uprooted from a magical childhood in Manhattan to land in “the lamest place in the world” -- Appleton, Indiana. The story navigates through the halls of Dan Quayle Junior High, where the displaced New Yorker tries every trick in the book to win favor with the school in-crowd so they’ll come to his Bar Mitzvah. Easier said than done.

The star quarterback, Brett (Coatesville’s Geordie Jarvis) is threatening to ruin his life and his only friend, Patrice (Sam Dobson of Phoenixville), won’t talk to him. The school oddball, Archie (played by Jason Scansoreli of Downingtown) sees an opportunity for blackmail and someone is spreading the nastiest rumors about Evan and the head cheerleader, Kendra (Maddie Walker of Coatesville). Could it be Kendra’s best friend Lucy (Rachel Wilkin of Glenmoore) stirring up all the trouble? Or is it Brett’s posse of players (Drew Kalkiewicz, Gabriel Thomas, Jasper Krikorian, Celia Hernandez and Caitlyn Boone). All Evan knows is life is completely off kilter and the road to manhood is strewn with mistakes and valuable lessons that he wished didn’t cost quite so much.

With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, 13 The Musical is driven by crisp, original rock numbers, get-up-and-dance R&B and soulful ballads that explore the gamut of adolescent emotions. Featuring songs like “The Lamest Place in the World,” “Becoming a Man,” “(That Girl is) Bad, Bad News,” and “What It Means to be a Friend,” the production is a hilarious, tongue in cheek musical about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it. A professional band backs the teens, led by Jeff Beideman of Glenmoore, PA, Charles Wright (Guitar) of Berwyn, Stephen Fisher (Piano) of Ephrata, George Ruch (Guitar) of Coatesville, and Tim Rieter (Bass) of Downingtown.

Also featured in the production are students from Twin Valley, Downingtown and Coatesville area schools: Jessie Brain, Josie Colantuno, Rachel Gebhard, Alex McClelland, Emily Rader, Alyssa Ruch and Gena Silberman.

Vagabond Acting Troupe rates 13 – The Musical as “just about to be mature - PG-ish” based on graphic smooching references. Purchase tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com and at the door. For information on all of the company’s performances, classes and workshops, or to reserve tickets, visit www.vagabondactingtroupe.org.

Coming next to Vagabond Acting Troupe are free summer camps and RENT (The Musical).

Vagabond Acting Troupe is supported in part by a grant from the Chester County Solid Waste Authority, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Twin Valley Coffee, and the support of Thomas D. DeSanto and the Zeldin Family Foundation. To support Vagabond Acting Troupe, email vagabondactingtroupe@gmail.com.