Broadway musical “13” doesn’t quite score a 10 with critics


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While drawing the inevitable comparisons to Disney’s powerhouse franchise ‘High School Musical,’ East Coast critics seemed to agree the musical ’13’ probably isn’t for everyone.

The musical paean to adolescence, with music by Tony-winning songwriter Jason Robert Brown (‘Parade’) and book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, had its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum last year (with a different director, cast, creative team and sans Horn). It opened on Broadway on Sunday night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York.


Ben Brantley of the New York Times calls the cast ‘fine’ but says, ‘I can’t imagine that anyone who isn’t in early adolescence would be crazy about ’13,’ the shiny and brash new musical about growing up geeky.’

David Rooney at Variety agrees: ‘There’s not much in this sweet all-adolescent tuner to engage anyone past puberty...’

While praising the performers, Elise Gardner of USA Today said, ‘’13’ is, if hardly awesome (not even in the lesser sense of the word), an innocuous and sometimes touching diversion.’

Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press writes that ‘’13’ has obvious appeal for a tween audience and certainly offers sound advice for getting on with life.’

And over at the Newark Star-Ledger, Michael Sommers writes,’ ‘Sophisticates may sneer at such uncynical entertainment existing on Broadway, but ’13’ possesses a nimble, amusing book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn and, even better, a really enjoyable score by Jason Robert Brown.

And here’s what L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty had to say about ’13’ when it was in L.A.

--Lisa Fung