13 - the Musical

F321a44f b59b 436a 80df 19491db6662eI am constantly amazed at how well our next generation of young performers have learned and developed in the theatre world. Growing up is hard enough, and being a creative person isn’t always as rewarded as those who are good at sports or other endeavors. And yet, thanks to groups out there like Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre, there is opportunity and a welcome home for many. DMYAT’s newest production of 13 - the Musical in the Stoner Studio Theatre opens this weekend, and shows off a new crop of great performers.


787f2699 ea4c 47e2 bef7 324649f628bbThis isn’t the first time that DMYAT has done a production of 13 - the Musical. They first mounted the show in 2013, and one of the cast back then was Glori Dei Filippone... and her younger sister Frankie Filippone is part of the current version. I’m happy to say that 2013 version of 13 - the Musical was the first show I ever saw at DMYAT, and I’m constantly amazed at the superb talent and opportunity afforded so many through this organization.


Becoming a Man

13 - the Musical is about that wonderfully awful journey everyone goes through in school, and finding out who you are in the mosaic of junior high (and whatever expectations everyone has for you). Evan Goldman (played by Charlie Bishop, in his first show with DMYAT) is a boy who has just moved from New York City to Indiana, which seems like the middle of nowhere. He has to learn how to fit in with his new environment, different priorities, and figure out exactly how a Jewish kid from NYC is going to have his Bar Mitzvah when most of his classmates don’t even know what it is. How do you “become a man” when you’re still figuring out you are and where you fit?

6ace9d9c 0e4a 431d a04a 962eaed726a413 is a show all about kids growing up and discovering the social groups in life and where they fit in, I know when the musical was first released on Broadway people were skeptical as to if this would be an ordinary depiction that was false of young teens, but surprisingly I think 13 really stays true to really what happens. We all experience the pain of growing up and wanting to fit in, and I think it really hits those points well.”

“I feel that it's almost harder and easier to play Evan at the same time, because I am playing a character who truly is similar to me which makes it easier to relate. But it can also make it harder to represent all of his emotional changes. I want to bring the energy all of us teens have though because it truly is what makes our show so special, our cast is full of energy.”


What It Means to Be a Friend

0bdb0628 3f78 424a abfd 4544d019095cLily Spahr is playing Charlotte in the DMYAT production of 13 - the Musical. And while she’s also new to DMYAT, she’s been heavily involved the DM Playhouse, among others. “The cast of 13 has been very welcoming to new and old members of DMYAT. Some people may have felt the same as Evan at the beginning, but now we have become very close friends. The common interest of acting and theatre has really helped that. The cool thing about the theatre community is that it is always adjusting with each show, almost changing your clique, depending on who goes to your school.”

F07abf68 b550 47f5 a2bc 1cfa59c84f3a“Many things attract people of all ages to 13 - the Musical. Whether they want to relive those years, or if they just want to watch a fun carefree musical, the cast of 13 brings boundless energy to the stage, while truly embodying their characters. Everybody learns different lessons from being 13, and it is important that we remember that time in our lives, (even if it wasn’t the most pleasant.)”


Brand New You

Cb8c499f 144c 4fc3 990b c7f64d459c0dGrowing and changing through your school years is a constant and occasionally terrifying thing. Amara Feitelson returns to the DMYAT stage for 13 - the Musical, and has been through quite a bit of growth through previous shows. Feitelson wants to make sure people realize and remember what that is like.

“I want adults to take away the fact that every year their children change.  Their personalities may change as they get older and parents need to accept the fact that this happens.  This show can serve as a reminder of what it was like to be in middle school and the challenges that kids face.  Everyone will relate to the story and the music.  And the last song will be very emotional for parents because it shows them what kids have to deal with at that age and sometimes the things they do they don't do on purpose. They just want to be loved.”


OPP (Opportunity)

6a186f6e b8b6 4ee9 906a 0d85adeebbd5Hunter West is also making his debut with DMYAT in 13 - the Musical, and like so many other area youth, he feels like he’s found a home here.

“The show is wildly entertaining, It’s kinda, REALLY dramatic, it’s so full of energy, it has its highs and lows. The energy can spike one minute, but then drop to a mellow calm song, then right back up. It’s like a rollercoaster. I definitely would want to see the show if I hadn’t been a part of the cast.”

“DMYAT was the first theatre outside of school I have been to. It had such a kind and lively environment, I definitely feel like myself while pursuing what I love. The directors, the cast, and the managers are such amazing people. And I definitely will be staying with them in the future.”

13 - the Musical opens this Friday, July 26 at the Stoner Studio Theatre inside the Civic Center. It runs for 2 weekends and a total of 10 performances, including both matinee and evening shows on the Saturdays. Tickets are available through the Civic Center website and in person at the Civic Center box office.

Photos by Brandon James Photography. Courtesy of Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre.

Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre Charlie Bishop Lily Spahr Amara Feitelson Hunter West