The following is a republished press release written by Linda Glaser … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at jstein@ithacavoice.com.

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Ithaca, NY – Remember middle school, where even the most popular kids had to deal with cliques and conflict and adolescent angst? Or maybe you’re still living in that world of roller coaster emotions? Either way, Running to Places’ (R2P) “13 The Musical,” is a must-see show. Offering humor, fabulous songs (by Jason Robert Brown, no less) and a powerhouse cast, the play runs July 9-18 at the Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca:

Evan Goldman (Jasper Fearon) is prepping for his bar mitzvah when his parents divorce and his mother whisks him from the familiar world of New York City to the wilds of Indiana, where no one has any idea what a bar mitzvah is. Evan makes some friends—eccentric Patrice (Keara Byron) and muscular dystrophy-stricken Archie (Max Avramis)—but Evan would rather be “in” with the popular kids, like football star Brett (Ari Cummings),  beautiful Kendra (Kendra Walkuski) and the scheming Lucy (Cali Newman). But it all goes horribly, hilariously wrong when Evan gets sucked into the chaos of middle school courting.

“The story is agonizingly familiar to anyone who’s lived through that time of life,” says Joey Steinhagen, R2P artistic director. “The main character feels pressured to be popular at the expense of people who genuinely care about him, because he misunderstands what friendship is—something he will learn over the course of the show.”

Steinhagen says the talent in the show is “staggering,” with all but one – lead Jasper Fearon–veterans of R2P. And when Steinhagen calls Fearon a rock star, he means it literally: Fearon performs around Ithaca in the band MonkeySquids. “You won’t believe he’s a seventh grader,” says Steinhagen.

With an all-teenage cast, R2P catches the spirit of the original age-appropriate cast of the Broadway production. “The actors can bring something to this show that no one else can, because they’re living it,” explains Steinhagen. “We love picking plays that play into the strengths of what makes R2P unique, our youth contingency.”

The cast of 20 is small for an R2P show, but large for the Kitchen Theatre. This will be R2P’s first full play at the Kitchen, and the company has enthusiastically embraced working in a 3-sided venue. The set consists of cubes reconfigured to represent different locations, a simple, imagination-based design by Deb Drew that makes the most of the limited floor space.

The show will serve as a kick-off event to R2P’s July fundraiser, a crowdsourced effort to raise $30,000 and ensure that participation will remain free for all kids in R2P’s next season. “Eliminating all fees for R2P participation has been wildly successful,” says Steinhagen. “Fifty percent of the kids who auditioned this season were new to the company. This fundraiser will enable us to build on that success.” Donations can be made at runningtoplaces.org or at bit.ly/supportR2P.

The creative team for “13” includes Jeremey Pletter, resident music director; Rachel Frank, costume coordinator, and Fatima Sowe, choreographer.

“13” is exclusively sponsored by CSP Management with scholarship support from M&T Bank and an anonymous fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, with additional grant support from the Park Foundation, the Howland Fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, with season-long support from CSP Management.

In order to accommodate in the Kitchen Theatre the large audiences that R2P shows draw, “13: The Musical” will run for ten performances, July 9-12, ThursdaySaturday, 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm; July 15-18, WednesdaySaturday, 7 pm, Saturday, 2 pm; Tickets are $15 the day of the show, $13 if purchased in advance, $11 for groups of ten or more, and are available at www.runningtoplaces.org  and at the door. Call 607-216-8750 for more information.

Performance Dates:

Thurs, July 9 at 7:00 pm

Fri, July 10 at 7:00 pm

Sat, July 11 at 2 pm and 7:00 pm

Sun, July 12 at 2:00 pm

Wed, July 15 at 7:00 pm

Thurs, July 16 at 7:00 pm

Fri, July 17 at 7:00 pm

Sat, July 18 at 2 pm and 7:00 pm