Home Bensalem Times Bensalem teens part of Newtown Arts Company’s ‘13’

Bensalem teens part of Newtown Arts Company’s ‘13’

See Lucy Allen and Zachary Huot in this coming-of-age musical Aug. 3-6 at the Newtown Theatre

Local performers: Bensalem’s Lucy Allen (L) and Zachary Huot are part of Newtown Arts Company’s production of ’13,’ on stage Aug. 3-6. Submitted Photos

Over a decade ago, future pop star Ariana Grande made her professional debut in the 2008 Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s 13, the first-ever musical in the Big Apple to feature an all-teenage cast and band.

Now, a fresh batch of teens are preparing to hit the stage when Newtown Arts Company puts on the show from Aug. 3-6 at the historic Newtown Theatre, 120 N. State St.

13 follows 13-year-old Evan Goldman when he moves from New York City to Indiana. Not only does he have to grapple with his parents’ divorce, he must face everything that comes along with middle school, including choosing between true friendship and popularity.

Starring in the production are two young performers from Bensalem: Lucy Allen and Zachary Huot, both of whom boast a strong affinity for the arts.

Allen, who gained her first theater experience with Neshaminy Summer Stock at the age of 8, has steadily built her resume over the past several years. Currently, this Addams Family and Hamilton fan boasts quite the busy schedule, as she’s part of the ensemble for both Neshaminy Summer Stock’s production of Mamma Mia! and Newtown Arts Company’s 13.

“I’m in the ensemble, so I have a little freedom with my character. I get to be in all numbers,” she said of the latter. “We did this sheet, I named myself Daphanie Marshall, I’m supposed to be really into theater and art stuff.”

As for Huot, he vividly remembers falling in love with theater at the age of 3, when he was taken to see Newsies on Broadway.

“After that, I just got hooked on dancing and music,” he said. “I just started checking out shows everywhere trying to get new experiences.”

In 13, Huot plays Simon, whom he described as “one of the jock friends” of leading character Brett.

“Basically, we just kind of follow him around and do what he says, because we’re the popular kids, too,” explained Huot. “Mostly, it’s just fun to play Simon. He really just kind of hangs out with everyone and does whatever. He finds himself in the middle of everything.”

For both Allen and Huot, this is their first experience with Newtown Arts Company. So far, they’re enjoying their time with the group, and are also loving the chance to work alongside an entire cast of people their own age.

“It’s really fun,” said Allen. “When I’m in a show with adults, I feel like it’s a lot more pressure. I feel like this is a junior show, we’re having a lot of fun.”

Huot added, “We’re all around the same age, so we can just kind of relate to each other.”

13 boasts an uptempo soundtrack and high-energy numbers, which the show’s young stars are excited for audiences to witness next month. Allen and Huot shared their favorites.

“I love ‘Opportunity’ because the music is just so good, it’s showing off the villain and it’s with cheer,” said Allen. “So we do a couple cheers, we do a couple lifts and it’s really fun.”

“ ‘Bad Bad News,’ which is one of the songs the boys sing that I’m in,” said Huot. “It’s a super-cool dance and it’s probably the best song in the show, in my opinion.”

As Allen and Huot complete final rehearsals and prepare to hit the stage for 13, both are already looking ahead toward their futures. Allen hopes to continue with theater for as long as possible, and hopes to someday land her dream role: Donkey in Shrek.

“I really wanna be Donkey,” she said with a laugh.

Huot’s dream is to be part of the show that made him fall in love with theater all those years ago.

“Ever since I saw the show Newsies when I was 3, I immediately said, ‘I want to be a Newsie when I grow up. I want to perform,’ ” he said. “If Newsies ever goes back to Broadway, I’m auditioning. I’m the first one to sign up.”

Until then, Allen and Huot will be focusing on making 13 the best it can be. Both shared some final words on why community members should come see the show.

“It really digs deep into what being a teenager is about, and all the pressure on a teenager,” said Allen. “It’s such a meaningful show with fun music, rock music. It shows the stereotypical groups, and it’s just such an amazing show.”

Huot said, “It’s gonna be a blast of a show. It’s really funny. So if you want a nice comedy with some awesome music, you should definitely go see 13 at Newtown Arts Company.”

Visit newtownac.booktix.net/ for more information.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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