13 is a hilarious, coming-of-age rock musical with music and lyrics by Tony-Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown and a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. The story centers around Evan Goldman, who must quickly establish his popularity and avoid an un-cool label amongst his middle school classmates after moving from New York City to a small town in Indiana. The cast of MCP’s production features 17 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16, and this show will be the entire cast’s MCP debut. In Part 2 of the “Meet the Cast” series introduces the remaining male members of the cast: Alex Weinstein, Brett Hungar, Cole Sitilides, Ryan Selig, Will Hemmingson, and Winston Oughourli.
Introduce yourself, and let readers know where they may have seen you on local stages recently.
Alex Weinstein: Hi, my name is Alex Weinstein, and I am 12 years old. I was recently in the production of 12 Dancing Princesses at Encore Stage & Studio.
Brett Hungar: I’m Brett Hungar, and while I haven’t done much acting recently, I’m enjoying being in 13.
Cole Sitilides: Hi, I’m Cole Sitilides. I’m 12 years old, and I love both musical and non-musical theater. It lets me create an entirely different person that is able to come to life on stage. Besides acting, I love to sing. Ever since about the time I was five, I’ve been letting out who I am through music.
Ryan Selig: Hi, my name is Ryan Selig. I am currently 12 years old, and this is my first time being in a musical. I really enjoy being in 13 and being the character of Malcolm.
Will Hemmingson: My name is Will Hemmingson, and I play Brett Sampson in 13. This is only my third show. My first show was Seussical: the Musical at Thoreau Middle School, and my second show was Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up with the Vienna Youth Players.
Winston Oughourli: I’m Winston Oughourli, and the only other community production I’ve ever been in was In the Best Interest of the Child, performed at James Lee Community Center in August 2013.
How would you describe 13?
Alex: A fulfilling experience.
Brett: A coming-of-age story that teaches you that being popular isn’t the most important thing.
Cole: It’s been a rollercoaster ride and a lot of work, but it’s a great show that we have lots of fun putting together.
Ryan: Fun! Not only will the musical be fun for an audience because it has hilarious themes, songs, and dialogue, but it is fun to be in the cast. I enjoy working with everyone, and I always have a great time at rehearsal.
Will: 13 is a fun comedy about a boy named Evan Goldman trying to fit in through his bar mitzvah process. The show is a lot of fun to watch and perform, and we hope you enjoy it.
Winston: A type of time machine for all of the adults in the audience who really get to go back to when they were 13 because I feel like everyone can relate to the musical in one way or the other.
Why did you want to be a part of 13?
Alex: It looked like a really interesting show to be a part of.
Brett: I’ve always enjoyed singing and thought acting would be interesting, so trying out for a musical seemed to be a natural next step.
Cole: When I saw that the McLean Community Players were having auditions for 13, I signed up because musical theater is something I love, and this was the perfect opportunity to keep doing what I love.
Ryan: I have always enjoyed theater. Performing in small class plays were always fun but I had never taken it to the next level. That was until my dad showed me an ad for “13.” I thought, “Why not,” so I tried out and now here I am. Also it looked like a really fun to do the musical.
Will: My family had seen the show a couple years ago, and I wanted to be in the show.
Winston: I thought it would help me be able to sharpen my skills a little bit more so I can do a better job in my next performance.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
Alex: I play Eddie, one of Brett’s sidekicks, and I relate to him because we are both about the same age and in middle school.
Brett: In addition to being one of the kids, I’m the Rabbi in the musical, and I think I relate to his role of guiding Evan and helping Evan during one of the lowest points.
Cole: I play an ensemble role that I developed to be a lot like me – funny, overly dramatic, sometimes a little thoughtless, but mostly passionate.
Ryan: I play Malcolm, one of Brett’s sidekicks. I relate to Malcolm in many ways since he is basically the same age as me and we have similar personalities. He is more in the background than me, but we both have a joking attitude as well as serious side.
Will: I play the most popular guy in school, Brett Sampson. Brett is a cute, dim-witted character, who struggles to get “the tongue” from Kendra. I relate to my character because he’s charming and girls love him.
Winston: I play an ensemble role, and my character is always trying to be the opposite of what everyone wants him to be. I can relate to him because I am always the one who isn’t scared to be the odd one out.
Which character in 13 is most like you?
Alex: Probably Evan because I am having a Bar Mitzvah too.
Brett: Archie because even when everybody else rejects Evan he’s willing to help.
Cole: Besides my own character, Evan. He’s just looking to make friends in an unbelievably tough town, and all he wants is to be everybody’s friend.
Ryan: Probably Eddie because he’s funny, like Malcolm, but his humor is less absurd.
Will: Evan because I just moved to a new school last year and felt a little out-casted at first since I only knew two other people. However, after a few painful months, I started to make friends and enjoy middle school.
Winston: Archie because he is the one everyone would ignore or make fun of since he seems to be different, but he’s really the same as everyone else.
What is your favorite song in 13?
Alex: “Getting Ready” because the harmonies are really pretty and I like all the different parts in it.
Brett: “Brand New You” because it talks about the theme of becoming a new person just as Evan becomes a man in Jewish tradition.
Cole: “Tell Her” because there is so much meaning behind it and so much that can be done with that song.
Ryan: “All Hail the Brain” and “Terminal Illness.” “All hail the Brain” shows what’s going on in Evan’s mind, and “Terminal Illness” is just so outrageous that it is amazing.
Will: “Terminal Illness.” This song is a funny, up-tempo song during which the main character, Evan, is trying to convince Archie to get his Mom to buy tickets to a scary movie for everyone. It’s pretty simplistic yet still has funny lines for effect.
Winston: “The Lamest Place in the World” because it’s so nice to hear, and it’s inspiring to watch how hard Tori is working when she gets on stage and sings alone.
What is your favorite scene in 13 that you are not on stage for?
Alex: “Terminal Illness.”
Brett: One of the coolest scenes is when Patrice first meets Evan and talks about how he’s making her world so much better.
Cole: “If That’s What It Is” because there’s humor in it but also a lesson. It inspires me to keep picking myself up after life puts me down.
Ryan: The fight scene between Kendra and Lucy. It is really funny, and I wish I could be on stage reacting to it.
Will: The scene where my friends are talking about how my new girlfriend is “bad bad news,” because she is being a control freak. This scene is always funny, and the guys do such a great job of making it come to life.
Winston: When Evan wants to talk to Brett, and Eddie says to him, “Are you suicidal?” I love the look on Evan’s face when Eddie says that and how Patrice swoops in to save Evan.
What have you learned about yourself as a performer during this experience?
Alex: You should try to be over-the-top as an actor or actress.
Brett: I’ve learned a lot about dancing and how I need to be bigger and more expressive.
Cole: I am definitely not the best dancer or most coordinated performer, but I also can get the choreography down if I just practice enough. I’ve also learned that while musicals are exhausting, they’re a lot of fun, and this is a hobby that I want to pursue.
Ryan: I really enjoy performing. At first, I was hesitant about acting in general, but I have really opened up.
Will: Throughout the rehearsal process, I’ve learned that the best thing you can do for your character is find out what they want and need. Those are two very different things that will benefit your character in everything they do.
Winston: You won’t always have the happy ending you want.
What do you think the message of 13 is?
Alex: Be yourself even if you aren’t popular. Trying to be someone you’re not won’t do anything.
Brett: It doesn’t matter if you’re cool or not because there are always people there for you.
Cole: 13 is trying to tell people, especially pre-teens and teens, to not overwhelm themselves in attempts to be popular and true friendship is all that matters.
Ryan: We need to think about the important things in life, realize we should be happy with what we have, and understand that we all have more work to do in life. It’s a very deep show.
Will: Popularity isn’t always the best thing for everyone. Throughout the show, Evan is using his Bar Mitzvah process to make himself one of the most popular boys in school when really all the friends he needed were right there all along.
Winston: The things that can really make you happy are the simple things.
Why should theatregoers come see this production, and what makes it so unique and special?
Alex: Because it’s not about a ton of crazy stuff; it’s about real life.
Brett: The cast is really cool and everyone involved has worked hard! There are a lot of exciting moments during the musical as well as catchy music and lively choreography. I think anybody would love to see it!
Cole: It really is a different type of musical, like nothing that I’ve ever seen or done before. It shows its audiences just how rough a teen’s life can actually be, especially with the unreasonable amount of drama. 13 is an exciting show that I would highly recommend.
Ryan: You will laugh, you will cry, and you will say “Awwwwwww,” but the main reason you should come is to have a good time with family ot friends and learn some interesting things about what it’s like to be 13.
Will: This show is different from the rest because it is not only fun to watch with friends and family, but it’s also been a great experience for everyone in the cast. We have a lot of fun putting it on for you.
Winston: 13 is unique because it is the only Broadway production to have an all-kid cast and band, and it’s a completely refreshing experience to those who are used to the regular everyday performance.
13 plays from January 30- February 15, 2015 at McLean Community Players performing at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue in McLean, VA. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of the McLean Community Players’ Production of ’13′: Part One: Bailey Drew, Cuinn Casey, Izzy Gaskill, John Ray, and Tori Garcia by Laura Dailey.