13 going on… 13!

  1. If you know me well, you know that the left and right hands in “Get Me What I Need” both fascinate and frustrate me with their deceptive simplicity but complexity together, which is no shock; JRB’s music is hard on purpose, even when it’s for kids. I appreciate his not treating kids with kid gloves.
  2. When Aaron Simon Gross as Archie says, “I’ve always felt this kinship with the Jewish people.”
  3. Christopher Gatelli choreographed this? and there are occasional moments of acro?
  4. This show’s “It Gets Better” message somehow predates Dan Savage’s, and I love that. Another moral, that we’re never done learning and growing and that no one is perfect, really hits home harder in this era, and I’m floored by it still.
  5. The vocals of “Bad, Bad News.” The singing and arrangements, period. This music is on par with any other JRB score, especially “Getting Ready,” “If That’s What It Is,” and “A Little More Homework.”
  6. The Lucy and Kendra part of “Getting Ready” is surprisingly ahead of the curve with revealing how there’s no winning as a girl, considering the entire show is by grown men.
  7. Lucy’s lines are all indications of a much larger problem, but they’re also hilarious.
  8. Now that I’ve been to Indiana directly from New York City, I can appreciate the level of culture shock associated with that change in this musical even more.
  9. The actual haftorah and the accurate capturing of the stress around Bar Mitzvahs are highlights for me.
  10. The moments where the supporting characters and ensemble get to express their fears and concerns, revealing that middle school sucks for everyone, and if it didn’t, I can’t relate to you at all.
  11. The new film cast a disabled actor as Archie, learning from one of its most glaring past issues, and that’s growth.
  12. It’s fun. It’s got some real, grounded emotions, but it’s fun. It is possible to have fun and serious things in one show and allow young people to express themselves without overly sugarcoating or going into melodrama.
  13. Most importantly, the original Broadway run played to the strengths of the original cast and adapted with them. Subsequent productions have done the same, making it one of the most exciting pieces of theatre for people in this age group to do. I’m a little salty I never did.

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