Last time Thatboy and I were in NYC, 13 was playing on Broadway, but I dismissed it because really, I've had my fill of "High School Musical." And then, about a week after we came home, I was reading about JRB's new take on the hardest age. CRAP! 13 was a Jason Robert Brown piece? Well I guess my research was worthless. And then it was ushered offstage, like many of 2008's shows. So I was only too excited to see it playing by us. And I grabbed tickets immediately.
Last night, I bet Thatboy after work for dinner and a show. We decided to try O'Brother's because Thatboy has been wanting to hit it up for a while. And really, what's not to love about a totally organic experience?
The burgers and cheese are all local, the beef is even grass fed. And everything from the condiments to the drinks are organic. I was a little worried about Thatboy and the lack of Pepsi/Coke, but he made himself right at home with an organic beer - Fishtail Winter Fish Seasonal Ale.
He very much enjoyed it, but it wasn't my cup of tea. But I didn't want to be left out, so I got my own organic beer - Fish Tale's Amber Ale.
The place was almost empty when we arrived, giving us a great view and fabulous service.
There was only one other couple when we arrived. They were NOT friendly. They seated themselves RIGHT beside the door, and when it didn't automatically swing shut after we entered they honestly yelled at us to close it because they were cold. I'm sorry? You're cold? YOU'RE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE RESTAURANT. Maybe you could pick a seat that's NOT next to the door?
Hateful Hateful Hateful
Our burgers came with a side salad, but Thatboy and I decided to go all out and get a really unhealthy side to split/start out with. His pick.
Onion rings with organic ketchup and organic ranch. These weren't my favorite onion rings, but I did love the fact that they broke easily. Do you know what I mean? I can't eat an onion ring whole, so I have to tear it into quarters. A lot of times when you tear them into quarters, you end up with one long onion string and 3 quarters of fried batter with nothing inside. With these, I got 4 quarters of onion filled ring.
Thatboy ordered his favorite type of burger ever - one with bacon, cheese, onion rings, and bbq sauce. I knew he was going to get it the first time I saw the menu. He was very happy.
I felt really boring after I saw his. I just got a plain ole burger with some avocado added. I'm not huge on cheeseburgers, and this just hit the right spot. It was dripping in meat juice, fabulous if you like meat.
After dinner, we headed downstairs to the show. It was at the Lyceum and was our first experience with that theater.
The theater is actually really interesting. It has 2 stages and the "lobby" area is filled with art from a local artist, some of which was for sale. Local artist was actually there showing his friend some stuff. It was .....interesting. But if you like breasts, it was the place for you. Kind of a weird place to have such adult art given that the average age of the audience for our show was about 11. In fact, Thatboy and I decided we may have been the only people in the audience not related to our friends with the cast. I looked over the program and turned to Thatboy. "It makes me feel so jaded. I look at each bio where they plan on growing up and being an actor. They're so young and optomistic. You can tell they haven't been through their first year at UCLA yet."
As for the show itself.....during the opening number I thought "high energy is DEFINITELY the word for this show." A bunch of teenagers dancing and spazzing out on the stage. One girl kept tugging up her too big skirt, and another kept pushing her hair out of her face, and all of them were a little spastic. The main character, Evan was a little runt of a kid, and at first I didn't "feel" him for the part, but by the end I was completely won over. He did a great job and I actually felt his runtiness worked for the character perfectly. He did have braces or a retainer or something which gave him a very distinctive way of pronouncing his Ws.....something that reminded Thatboy and I of another young character in another show.
The show follows a 12 year, Evan, as he moves from NYC to Appleton, Indiana after his parent's divorce. He struggles to befriend the popular kids so that they'll come to his Bar Mitzvah - the pivotal part of every young Jewish child's life. It resonated with me since I grew up in a town very much like Appleton, Indiana where I was the only Bat Mitzvah in town. It has all the best parts of teenage life - love, betrayal, dating, and of course "the tongue."
Really though, the cast was fantastic. With a few VERY notable exceptions, they had great voices and high energy and were fun to watch. (Only one song had the two of us praying for relief and cheering when it was over because we had survived.) I do have to say I adore watching young kids sing, especially when they tuck their little chins into their little chests to sing the low notes. And the show was funny, and most of the time, the cast really understood the timing of the jokes (which can be awful with young kids.)
The songs were fun, but only two really stood out for me, which could be because the young actresses who sang them were really great. Thatboy felt that maybe we should give the whole album a shot, because the Broadway cast might be better. I'll leave you with one of our favorite songs done by the Broadway cast. It showcases how fabulous Jason Robert Brown is at writing songs, how great a young voice can be, and how EVIL teenage girls are.