PCT opens season with show for anyone who has been, or is, a teen

13: A show about teens, by teens, for teens.

Geek. Poser. Jock. Beauty Queen. Wannabe. These are the labels that can last a lifetime.

With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer, Jason Robert Brown, (Parade, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County) Pittsburg Community Theatre’s first show of the 2017 season, the musical “13,” is a story about fitting in – and standing out.

Set to open on March 9 for area schools with a special daytime performance at 9am, and on March 10-12 for the public, the former Broadway show is an hilarious, coming-of-age musical about discovering that “cool” is sometimes where we least expect it.

It tells the story of Evan Goldman, who is plucked from his fast-paced, preteen New York City life and plopped into a sleepy Indiana town following his parents’ divorce.

Surrounded by an array of simple-minded middle school students, he needs to establish his place in the popularity pecking order.

The stories that come to life as he attempts to make new friends are ageless, the emotions they explore timeless, the laughter and the memories they provide priceless.

Among those friends: Patrice. She’s an outcast. Ostracized by her peers, she finds a friend in Evan when he moves to town. The two of them become friends with Archie, a student made fun of by his classmates for his physical disability.

Then there are Kendra and Lucy, who fight over Brett, the hottest and most popular guy in school. Twenty other characters round out the cast.

The show is being directed by Greg Shaw, PCT board member and Pittsburg High School theater teacher who also directs shows for Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. For the cast, he sought the area’s best teen performers. Audiences will remember many of them from award-winning productions like “Shrek” and “Band Geeks” in 2016, and more recent crowd-pleasers like “Addams Family” and “Seussical.” Several were in the cast of PCT’s “Junie B. Jones” last year, which drew thousands of audience members.

The show is musically directed by MJ Harper, who portrayed “Mama Rose” in last summer’s PCT production, “Gypsy,” and is a vocal music and theater instructor in Ft. Scott, Kansas.

The show’s band is under the direction of Cooper Neil, PHS instrumental music teacher.

“I think teenagers should especially come see this show because I am sure they can all relate, whether they were the one in these situations or they knew people like the characters in the show,” said Alexis Daniels, who plays Kendra. “It has a great score and is very entertaining.”

McKenna Shaw, who plays Patrice and has played her before in a theatre in Kansas City, said adults and teens alike should see the show.

“It provides a good message of kindness for teens going through these tough years right now,” she said. “As for adults, it brings a sense of nostalgia for them as they look back on their teen years. It’s fun for the whole family.”

Tickets may be purchased and printed online at www.memorialauditorium.org, or by calling the Memorial Auditorium box office at 620-231-7827, or stopping by the box office at 503 N. Pine. Details about the Pittsburg Community Theatre can be found at www.pctinfo.org

Cost: $12 reserved seating, main floor, adults; $10 reserved seating, main floor, children 13 and under and seniors; $8 general admission, balcony.