Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! People come and go so quickly here. So, my lovely rainbow readers, Bobby Patrick, your rainbow reviewer, was swept away by this lovely tornado, my boss, Stephen Mosher, from the pages of Broadway World Cabaret and fell here in Listening Land, and will take the extra work of editing music releases so you can play them all. So, for those of you who don’t yet know Bobby as well as those who are DEDICATED readers… strap in and get ready, as Bobby talks about the ABOUT the disc.
Yesterday, Netflix released the film version of Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown’s Broadway musical 13, with the soundtrack simulcasting on streaming platforms. From the time 13 was developed for the musical theater stage, to when the play opened (and closed) on Broadway, to the regional theater productions the play received, this has been a niche project. : to be in 13, one must fit into one of three categories – 1) fans of musical theater, 2) fans of Jason Robert Brown, or 3) fans of stories involving teenagers and the adolescent anxiety. When the play opened on Broadway, it had the distinction of being the first (and still only) Broadway musical with a cast and orchestra made up entirely of talented teenagers. That’s a nice hat trick if you ask Bobby. But when a producer, writer, and director decide to translate a property from stage to screen, changes must be made to accommodate the medium. Adults need to be brought into the script (which they were), songs from the original score dropped (which they were), new songs for the movie need to be written (which they were). summer) and then, finally, a new brand of viewership exists for 13 – The Moviegoer. The play premiered in 2008, 14 years ago, these changes are natural, and viewers today will decide for themselves how they feel about the film. Broadway enthusiasts who love the show, many who grew up with the show or its original cast album, are the people least likely to accept extreme changes from stage to screen.
So they probably won’t be happy that several songs from the original production/cast album were redacted (what? Bobby knows the words!) for the movie score, while other numbers cut from the Broadway show were redacted. restored, and new numbers added. In fact, so many changes have been made to the score over the years that a scorecard could be useful to keep track of. Or, a person could simply forget all preconceived notions and previous experiences of 13 and enjoy this new incarnation for what it is. Honestly, it’ll be easier on the heart and soul than trying to match the two.
So what will a person find on the new 13 The Musical soundtrack?
The album produced by Ghostlight Records and licensed by Atlantic Records includes 11 songs from the film, 1 extended version of one of those songs, 1 recording of “What It Means to Be a Friend” which is listed as a bonus track and 1 bonus track of one of 11 songs, recorded by a popular singer-songwriter named Alec Benjamin. From the actual distribution of film, Gabriella Uhl uses her particularly beautiful voice and performing skills on the oh so relatable “Lamest Place in the World” as well as the magnificent bonus track “What It Means…” and the new duet “It Would Be Funny” for star Eli Golden and on-screen mom Debra Messing is downright adorable, which makes one wonder when Messing will be on Broadway in her own musical. Producer Harvey Mason Jr. did a renowned job of capturing the film’s soundtrack, with Mark Graham’s orchestrations shining alongside the fine singing performances of the actors responsible for bringing these characters to life. Jason Robert Brown’s melodies are enjoyable, sometimes quite groovy (especially a survivor of the Broadway show “Brand New You” and the new composition “I’ve Been Waiting” – which Bobby says is a highlight of the show. ‘album), and its lyrics are sufficiently geared towards teenage angst, though one wonders if Mr. Brown remembers the angst of his own youth, or manufactures what he thinks angst in teenagers looks like modern teenagers. It’s beautiful film music, and well represented on this album. 13 is a CD to be enjoyed… but by whom? Bobby asks…
It seems unlikely that the average adult will find themselves craving 45 minutes of teenage singing: 13 The Musical’s demographics remain as specific as they’ve always been – listeners will be Broadway fans, JRB and teenage angst fans. And guess what? Teenage angst sells on television. Watch hit TV shows like Sex Education, Riverdale and Love, Victor. People listen to these programs and keep their Netflix numbers high. People will tune into 13 The Musical, and those who like it will want to listen to it, so they’ll be flocking to their digital platforms to buy or stream the album, and they should be more than happy with what they find there because that it’s a good solid soundtrack to movie music and aren’t we all glad they’re back in fashion? ! But it is, after all, a soundtrack, and the people who listen to it will be those who have already decided they like it.
13 The Musical is a 2022 release from Ghostlight Records and Atlantic Records. It is available on all platforms by clicking HERE.