Thursday, March 24, 2011


Robert Horn, writer of the book for the musical "13," will do a talk-back at EPAC after Friday night's performance.

The energetic cast of EPAC's "13."


If you want to see a group of really talented teenagers, performing in a smart, funny show with wonderful music, do yourself a favor and come see the musical “13” at EPAC (it opens tonight!) Or, if you’re a teenager who wants to see your story brought to musical life on the stage (or an adult who can look back on his/her teen years with humor, horror and nostalgia) … you’ll love “13”! It’s opening tonight at the Sharadin Bigler Theatre at EPAC, and runs through April 2. The show was written by Robert Horn (keep reading to find out how to see him in person on Friday at EPAC!) and Dan Elish, with music by Jason Robert Brown (whose music you may remember from EPAC’s “The Last Five Years.”)

I saw “13” at the preview performance last night, and loved every minute of it. The music is great, and the book of the musical is hilarious (I laughed a LOT!). Director/choreographer Cody Smith has done a fantastic job of bringing this musical to the stage (and the young people in the cast bring humor and heart to the script; lovely voices to the songs, and all that wonderful, youthful energy to Cody’s clever choreography).

The show centers around the character of nearly-13-year-old Evan Goldman, whose parents’ separation has caused his sudden move from New York City to a small town in Indiana. There, Evan feels compelled to make friends with the “cool kids” and get them to come to his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. In the course of a musical evening, you'll hear about raging hormones; bullies; living with illness (with dignity and humor); friendships broken and mended; who's hot; who's a geek, and how to navigate all of these choppy teenage waters.

Kudos to Cody, the cast (see them here) and the wonderful pit orchestra (under the direction of JP Meyer). If you want to experience a delightful night (or afternoon) at the theater (and enjoy watching talented kids express their creativity on stage), don’t miss this show!

Keep in mind that the show has some PG-13 humor; while you won’t hear cursing, you’ll hear the teens discuss what teens talk about – finding someone “hot,” wanting to get a French kiss from someone, and so forth. But that’s what makes the show so real. The show is recommended for audiences ages 12 and up.

EPAC is very grateful to the sponsors for "13": Terry Bigler & Terry Kurtz; Zeller Travel; Blue Ridge Communications, the Ephrata Public Library, and the Ephrata Recreation Center.


You’ll have an extra-special treat if you buy your tickets for this Friday night’s performance of “13” (March 25). The writer of the book for the musical, Robert Horn, will be at EPAC for a meet-and-greet reception and talk-back right after the show. Robert’s impressive resume’ also includes screenwriting (the upcoming Disney movies “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” (the next in the “High School Musical series) and “The Suite Life Movie” (as in Zack & Cody), and writing/producing for such TV series as “Designing Women” and “Living Single.”

Robert and EPAC’s own Ed Fernandez met in high school, when both were trying out for a production of “Peter Pan.” (Hey … maybe we can get Robert to tell us what Ed was like in high school!) Later, Ed and Robert lived in Greenwich Village, where they evolved as artists (and performed plays in friends’ apartments!). They’ve been friends for decades, but, before their reunion Wednesday night, Ed and Robert hadn’t seen each other in person in about 30 years.

I met Robert Wednesday night at EPAC as he and Ed were (hilariously) reminiscing about their halcyon days in New York. Robert is charming and funny; you’ll see for yourself if you come to Friday’s performance.

Thanks to Expressions Limousine of Lancaster, both for picking Robert Horn up at the airport and bringing him to Ephrata and for promoting EPAC so often (especially in its Facebook postings!).


If you come to tonight's opening-night performance of "13" (March 24), your ticket includes the opening-night reception following the show. The party will be at the Ephrata Main Theatre, 124 E. Main St., Ephrata, where there will be a cash bar for the adults, snacks for the teens and a free showing of the movie "Rango." Thanks to Green Mountain Cyclery (and an anonymous donor) for sponsoring the opening-night festivities. For tickets, call 733-7966 or visit EPAC's website.


For theatergoers ages 13-19, EPAC is offering a special “TEENie” ticket price – just $13 -- for the Sunday, March 27, matinee of “13.” The show is at 2 p.m.; call the EPAC box office at 733-7966 for tickets (or visit the website).

# Mary Ellen ("Merv") Wright