It’s one thing to wrangle a few Von Trapp kids. Some Matildas. A Gavroche or two.
But a baker’s dozen of newly minted teenagers, raging hormones and all, packed into a handful of dressing rooms backstage in a Broadway theater? And aside from the crew, the musical director — and, yes, three child wranglers — no adults in sight?
This was the great experiment of “13,” the 2008 coming-of-age musical both about and performed by a group of kids going through one of the more chaotically vulnerable stages of life. The show, about a 13-year-old named Evan juggling his parents’ divorce, his upcoming bar mitzvah and a seemingly life-shattering move from New York to the middle of Indiana, was not just a test in managing this particular company — an all-teen cast and band — but in finding exactly what the audience appetite was for a work that sat squarely in the limbo between Disney and “Spring Awakening.”
Adult reviewers were lukewarm — though, to be fair, the 14-year-old companion of the New York Times critic Ben Brantley found it to be “pretty good” — and “13” closed three months after opening night, one of numerous Broadway casualties during the recession.