Joshua Rivera and Eliza Figueroa insist they’re nothing like the characters they play in “13.”
A Broadway musical from 2008, “13” will be presented by the Schenectady Light Opera Company and performed at The GE Theatre at Proctors Tuesday through Sunday.
“My character isn’t very bright, and he’s also a bully, but I don’t go around bullying people, at least not outside of rehearsal” said Rivera, a 2009 graduate of Schenectady High School. “That’s why I like acting. You get to play somebody else. It’s fun not being yourself.”
Being someone else
Figueroa, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Draper Middle School in the Mohonasen Central School District, is also enjoying the opportunity to portray someone a little less refined than herself.
WHERE: The GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $20-$12
MORE INFO: 346-6204 or www.proctors.org.
This production is part of a series of fund-raising events to help pay for the costs associated with SLOC’s purchase of a new theater in downtown Schenectady, the former St. John the Baptist Church.
“I play a mean girl who’s a skank and a slut,” said Figueroa. “She’s always trying to get in the way, and it’s great for me to step outside of my natural body and be able to play a different role. It’s a lot of fun.”
“13” was written by Jason Robert Brown, a New York playwright and director, who showed up at rehearsal in Schenectady two weeks ago to help SLOC director Joe Fava prepare the large cast for this production. Brown wrote the lyrics and music for the show, while Dan Elish wrote the book.
The first production was mounted in Los Angeles in January 2007, and in May 2008 it made its Broadway debut. The entire cast, as in the SLOC production, was composed of teenagers.
After receiving mixed reviews, the show closed in January 2009.
Evan Goldman, the central character in “13,” is a 13-year-old Jewish youth who is suddenly sent from Brooklyn to a small Midwestern town in Indiana while his parents are going through a divorce. Once there, Evan is befriended by a girl named Patrice. Sharing the role in the SLOC production are Zack Marshall of Philmont and Nathaniel Hileman of Schenectady, while Darcy Schacher of Ballston Spa is Patrice. Rivera’s character, named Brett, and Figueroa’s, named Lucy, are two more featured characters in the large ensemble.
“It’s a cast of 30, and we double-casted almost all of the parts so if we change a lead in the middle of the show, we can pull somebody out and stick somebody else in,” said Fava. “Some people who are playing leads in one show might play in the chorus of the next show. The kids are having a great time and really doing a nice job. I think the show will appeal to all young people. They’re going to feel really connected to the music.”
Rivera, who expects to be attending Hudson Valley Community College in the fall, saw the show on Broadway in 2008.
“I thought it was very good, and I thought the music was awesome,” he said. “It was a great time.”
At 18, Rivera is one of the oldest members in the cast.
“I read the original script, and my character failed twice, so I’d guess he’s around 15 or 16,” said Rivera. “So, maybe he should be in ninth or 10th grade. Like I said, he’s not bright. Not even a little bit.”
Rivera started acting at Schenectady High School as a freshman, and said he’s been in about 10 plays, all of them at the high school. Figueroa, meanwhile, made her community theater debut in 2007 playing July in the Schenectady Light Opera Company production of “Annie.” Like Rivera, she also saw “13” on Broadway.
“I actually saw it on closing night on Broadway, and I just loved the way these kids are allowed to go crazy on stage,” she said. “It’s a bunch of crazy kids, and I think it does reflect our lives. We see how dramatic we really are, and that reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.”
Along with directing the show, Fava is also serving as choreographer. Assisting him is Allyson Bullock, while also part of the creative team are musical director Olga Martinez and producer Jane Figueroa.