Middle School students to perform ‘13’

Photo by Daniel Jackovino
Austin Spencer, a Ridgewood Avenue School seventh-grader, will play Evan in the musical ’13.’

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge Middle School Drama Club will present two performances of the 2008 Broadway musical “13” next week

The story is about a 12-year-old Jewish boy named Evan Goldman who learns that having a few good friends is more important than chasing hollow popularity.

A NYC kid, Evan has high hopes for a big Bar Mitzvah bash but his hopes are scuttled when his mother separates from her philandering husband and moves to Appleton, Ind., taking Evan with her.

In the drama club production, directed by Heather Ballantyne, the role of Evan will be performed by seventh-grader Austin Spencer, a veteran of numerous middle school and Gas Lamp musicals including the recent “Elf” and “School of Rock.” After a recent rehearsal, Austin said he tries to be in every show he can and takes voice lessons.

“My family has been very musical,” he said. “My dad has been in different bands and my mother was part of The Swinging Gates of Colgate.” The “Swinging Gates” is the only all-female a Capella group at Colgate University and was established in 1974.

Austin said when Evan moves into his new neighborhood, he is pretty much the only Jewish kid around. Nonetheless, he and Patrice, the girl next door, get started on his Bar Mitzvah hopes by handing out invitations. But conflicts persist.

Joining Austin are Chloe Van Wayenberge as Patrice; Lila Seiden as Kendra; Sydney Medlar as Lucy; David Preston as Archie; Jude Ornstein as Brett; Lily Mycka as Cassie; Shelbi Toro as Charlotte; Olivia Handler as Molly; Rabbi and Mia are Lila Breslin; Colin Boyle as Malcolm; Nico Rivero as Eddie and Gabriel Carter as Richie.

The parent volunteers are Diane Preston, Shannon Van Wayenberge, Liz Galiardo and Linda Castrilli. Jesse Glover is the music supervisor; Lola Zimet is the music director; Sofia Perez and Ava Murtha, Ellie Hudon and Chloe Novoa are the choreographers.

The show is scheduled to be performed at Ridgewood Avenue School, on Friday, March 17, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 18, at 1 p.m. A fee will be charged for admission.