The Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC) in Media, PA and The Wilmington Drama League in Wilmington, DE have partnered to bring Jason Robert Brown’s high-energy “13,The Musical” to Media.  The show opened to enthusiastic audiences this past weekend and continues through Sunday.

The production features thirteen talented actors from the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas who have found a unique kinship performing this entertaining and insightful musical together.   

 At the beginning of rehearsals last fall Karalyn Joseph, who plays the outcast Patrice, lost her beloved grandfather. It was her first experience with the death of a close loved one and she is grateful she had this show to cling to.

 “No matter how much I wish it not to be true, I knew he was never coming back,” Karalyn said.  “The lyrics to the song “If That’s What It Is” helped get me through this difficult time.  ‘Go on and put one foot in front of the other and just keep walking on.’  Sometimes in life that’s really all you can do.”

And both these talented performers have gained inspiration from this Jason Robert Brown score.  Will Rotsch’s Archie performs the entire show on crutches and has been moved by the message of 13. He said, “True friends are something special and I need to treat them as something valuable.  I’ve started reconnecting with some of my old friends and reinstating our friendships.”

In the musical they both play roles which become the unlikely friends to the protagonist Evan whose idea of teen friendship is a bit skewed.  But Joseph believes that’s all part of the teen years. “Teenagers are basically those who are old enough to know when something is wrong but young enough to do it anyway!  I liked to affectionately call my teenage years the “what the heck am I doing and why am I still doing it” stage of life.”

And Rotsch agrees that 13 does a superb job of demonstrating these challenges: “The show presents familiar problems and situations in a funny way that my friends and I relate to in our lives.  Personally, the story makes me laugh at the things that we sometimes worry about.  It puts those problems into a better perspective.”

A musician and vocalist as well as an actress and experienced dancer, Joseph believes the musical also encourages young people to be themselves and embrace everyone for who they really are.  For her the experience has been life-changing: “Being in this show has not only inspired me to bring out my inner geek, but to hold on to friendships that I am lucky enough to have.  I’m better able to discern who really knows “what it means to be a friend”.  I know that this show, its heartfelt message, and this knock-out cast are the forces behind that change.”

On the verge of finishing his freshman year at Salesianum High School in Wilmington with high academic honors and a slew of activities and awards to his name to boot, Rotsch will take away one message from this amazing experience: “Sometimes the most unlikely people can be your greatest friends.”

With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, the writer of Broadway’s current “Bridges of Madison County” as well as “Parade” and “The Last Five Years” among others, “13” is a poignant musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it.  The show boasts a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics and tells the story of Evan Goldman, who is having a great life…until his parents get divorced and he’s forced to move with his Mom from NYC to Indiana!  The show features a cast of teens portraying 13-year-old characters dealing with the perils of middle school. This high-energy show was Broadway’s first all-teenage cast, and has many humorous and touching moments.

For tickets to 13 The Musical at The Media Theatre in its final weekend through June 8, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.