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Will ‘13’ Be Lucky?

Jason Robert Brown takes a chance on penning a bar mitzvah-themed rock musical

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In Jason Robert Brown's new rock musical, "13," the 13-year-old characters stand in a semicircle, staring bewilderedly at scraps of parchment.The teenagers in this show, which has its world premiere Jan. 7 at the Mark Taper Forum downtown, are non-Jewish students at a middle school in the fictional Appleton, Ind., and the "mysterious" documents are invitations to a bar mitzvah, courtesy of the Jewish new-kid-in-town, Evan Goldman.This funny-poignant piece is the brainchild of 36-year-old composer-lyricist Brown -- who is often described as a successor to Stephen Sondheim -- and among the smartest and most sophisticated talents in today's musical theater.

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