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Cast of "13"

Evan (Elliot Lazar) and cast

Patrice (Erin Minuk)

Lucy (Sari Waldman) and Kendra (Rachel Rubin)



by Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng., December 2, 2010

Right from the opening scene, you could see that The Gray Academy of Jewish Education's musical “13” was going to be lively, energetic, and  toe tapping entertainment.

The  timeless musical, with appropriate Jewish themes, held November 30 to December 2, 2010 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre, boasted near full houses in this 280 seat venue all three evenings.

It must have been  dificult to  select the few successful candidates to star in the musical, as there was a large pool of talented young people at the Gray Academy High School to choose from. Every member of th ecast was top notch.

“13” is a musical-comedy concerning the life of 13-year-old Evan Goldman, played by Elliot Lazar, as he moves from New York City to Carmen, Manitoba, and the problems and choices he faces when the move coincides with the celebration of his Bar Mitzvah.

Evan is eager to be accepted into a group of “cool kids” so he sets about doing whatever it takes to get himself in with the “in crowd”. As near social disaster strikes, he realizes that he must balance his desire to "fit in" with being true to himself and to his real friends. As the musical concludes, Evan recognizes who his real friends are. The audience is reminded about the complexities of the teen years, the value of honesty, and the strength of friendships.

My favourite scenes were the ones that involved the entire cast spread out on the stage. Whether they were singing and dancing or just acting, the visual appeal and interest was at its finest when there were lots of characters on stage.There are some clever lyrics and genuinely funny jokes throughout. The second half of the musical was even more interesting and action packed than the first half, with more full-cast numbers. 

The backdrop was ingenious. It was constructed of colorful pieces of board adhered to a wall section that were continually dismantled throughout the show to represent different scenes like New York, Carmen, Brian Mulroney High School, a movie theatre, etc.

The  singing by  Erin Minuk, who played Patrice, was spectacular and I especially liked when she sang  “The Lamest Place in the World” and “What It Means to Be a Friend.” When Minuk (Patrice) and Elliot Lazar (Evan) sang “Tell Her” together, the audience was breathless. Their duo was the singing highlight of the show for me.

There is definitely no “briefcase career” in Lazar’s future. His parents, Cheryl and Michael Lazar were hoping that their son would become a business man, but he tells them his aspirations lie in theatre arts. When the next Canadian Idol auditions come through the city, I suggest he try out with his brilliant performance of “Becoming a Man”.

Rachel Rubin, who has an excellent singing voice played a beautiful Kendra. Rafi Hoult  was wonderful as sports jock Brett.  Kas Kuropatwa, who displayed top notch actings kills, played a  believable Archie, a whiny handicapped nerd.  Sari Waldman played the mature but conniving Lucy. Waldman should audition for the next Canadian Idol as well. For someone without any formal vocal training, this girl is a “natural'” and has definite stage presence

Elliot Lazar, Rachel Rubin, Rafi Hoult, Sari Waldman, and Kas Kuropatwa were all very professional and fabulous in their lead roles.

The entire show was well staged and  directed by Miriam Bronstein (producers were Harriet Ciplinski and Judy Doctoroff ), and very well choreographed by    Leah Braemer. The  band under the skillful direction of  Ariel  Posen  was positioned on stage behind the wall section.

My review would be incomplete without mentioning Cassie (Cassie Ackerman), Charlotte (Jenna Adelman) and Molly (Morgan Shalom). The audience didn't  get the chance to really  hear their singing abilities until the final number of the show, “Brand New You” when they sang solos. But it was worth the wait. These three girls were exceptional – three more examples of the quality of talent at Gray Academy.

Another memorable  scene was a fun number performed by the four boys--Oren Binnun, Max Brodovsky Yaeger, Juan Mohadeb and Benji Leibl. Leibl's vocal skills and perfect pitch came out with a flourish  at the very end of the song.

The show promised to be a lot of fun for kids both young and old – and it  was. Gray Academy has another successful annual musical under its belt.

To see more pictures from the show, go to

Characters in the Musical
• Evan – Elliot Lazar
• Patrice – Erin Minuk
• Archie – Kas Kuropatwa
• Lucy – Sari Waldman
• Brett – Rafi Hoult
• Kendra –  Rachel Rubin
• Eddie – Max Brodovsy-Yager
• Malcolm – Juan Mohadeb    
• Cassie – Cassie Ackerman
• Charlotte –  Jenna Adelman
• Molly – Morgan Shalom
• Richie – Oren Binnun
• Simon – Benji Leibl
• Rabbi – William Pitch
• Brett’s friends – Braden Ganetsky, Gabriel Lazar
• Kendra’s Friends – Anna Binder, Brooke Lieberman,  Arielle Block, Nicole Meged, Or Shalom, Sophie Hershfield, Danielle Savlov, Sari Glow, Michal Shaposhnikov

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.