CASTALBUMS.ORG: REVIEW: How We React and How We Recover – Jason Robert Brown

Originally published on CastAlbums.org.

069449Many of us first fell in love with Jason Robert Brown‘s music through the cast recording of his first show, the revue Songs for a New World. His ability to create entire worlds through words and music, telling complete stories in three-minute chunks, lent itself extraordinarily well to cast recordings and concerts — as the concert revival of the show now playing at New York City Center is demonstrating to a new generation. Continue reading

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Jewschool.com: 13, The Musical

Coauthored with The Wandering Jew. Originally published on Jewschool.com

1 (dlevy). Thursday night, TheWanderingJew and I saw 13, a Broadway musical with songs by Jason Robert Brown, book by Dan Elish and Jason Robert Brown. The show tells the story of Evan Goldman, a 12-year-old kid from the Upper West Side of New York whose parents get divorced on the cusp of his bar mitzvah. His mom moves him to Indiana where he must make new friends in time to have anyone at his Bar Mitzvah party, while trying to figure out what exactly it means to become a man. (Thanks to the good folks at the Theater Development Fund, which provides access to discount tickets to students, educators, and folks who work at non-profits…)

2 (dlevy). It is very tempting for me to write an entire dissertation on this show. I am itching to trace the reflections of Sondheim (tell me you don’t hear hints of “Merrily We Roll Along” in the title song) and figure 13′s place in the growing body of Jason Robert Brown’s work and rhapsodize on how the present Broadway season and world economy frame this show both for its audience and its creators… but that’s a bit outside the scope of the Jewschool readership’s primary areas of interest. I’m going to trust that TheWanderingJew will edit down my ramblings a bit.

3 (TheWanderingJew). My expertise is nowhere near as in depth as dlevy’s when it comes to all things Broadway. I might have thought some of the tunes sounded familiar – they clearly borrowed from other musicals and standard music genres (doo-wop, blues, country, etc.), but what I tried to focus on were the kids’ abilities. The cast was clearly talented, though I felt the music didn’t fully allow them to shine. Malcolm and Eddie had amazing energy, and really played off each other (and their friend, Brett) well, stealing scenes as well-choreographed backup singers. Patrice was able to portray her awkwardness and strength in her solos… Maybe I should just have said that the play was well cast?  Continue reading