The Fame Reporter interviewed up and coming superstars Kershawn Theodore and Luisa Oro playing Evan and Patrice in 13 the Musical presented by Soundworks Productions. Playing in Melbourne at The Clocktower Centre from 3-6 March.
Geek. Poser. Jock. Beauty Queen. Wannabe. These are the labels that can last a lifetime. With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer, Jason Robert Brown, (Parade, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County), 13 is a musical about fitting in – and standing out!
We talked to Kershawn and Luisa about what enticed them to want to be involved in 13 the Musical, what they love about their characters, what the show taught them about the struggles of high school and more.
What sparked your interest in performing initially?
Kershawn: I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Her Majesty’s Theatre when I was 4 years old and was totally mesmerised. From then on, I just knew that performing was what I wanted to do.
What about ’13 the musical’ enticed you to want to be involved in it and what was your reaction when you found out you were going to play Evan and Patrice? K: I loved the storyline and the soundtrack, and was super keen to return to the stage after Covid lockdowns. I was so excited when I found out that I got the role of Evan that I think the neighbours even heard me scream! I feel incredibly blessed that i was chosen from so many talented young people.
Luisa: I saw a video from the creative team and everyone seemed like lovely people to work with. I was excited to get involved because their energy and passion for musical theatre was so evident. I was in shock when I found out I was going to play Patrice, there were so many talented auditions and I am so grateful to have the privilege to play such a wonderful role.
Do you have a role in theatre that you are dying to play?
K: Ever since I was little, I have always wanted to play ‘Aladdin’ but…I would also love to play J.D in Heathers, Damian in Mean Girls, and Kristoff in Frozen.
L: Kim in Miss Saigon
What do you love about your character’s story and what traits do you share with your character? K: I love how Evan grows throughout the show and learns that becoming a man doesn’t mean that you can control everything in your life and sometimes you just have to accept things for how they are. I am also 13 and I am finding my place in the world just like Evan.
L: I love how Patrice is a strong character who is not afraid to stand up for herself. Patrice and I both value friendship and we are both confident and have strong personalities.
What have you learnt about yourself from this show?
K: This has been one of the most challenging roles that I have ever played. I have grown so much as an actor and singer, and have been encouraged to push myself beyond what I thought I could do. As the youngest cast member, I’ve also had a lot of talented role models to look up to and learn from.
L: This show has helped me go above and beyond what I thought were my limits as a performer, I was really challenged and have grown as a singer, dancer and actor.
What is your favourite scene in the show and favourite song to perform?
K: My favourite scene is when Evan is talking with Patrice and Archie after his fight with Brett. He finally realises that true friendship is having people who stand by you in your darkest time, it’s not being popular or having the most people at your party. My favourite song to perform is ‘Being a geek.’
L: My favourite scene/song is ‘Good enough’ which is at the end of act 1. It is the most emotional Patrice is in the entire show.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
K: Hugh Jackman, Elton John and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
L: Eva Noblezada, Renee Rapp and Lea Salonga
What do you love about Evan and Patrice’s connection in the show?
K: I love the friendship they form. No matter what happens along the way, they find their way back to each other every time.
L: I love how we see a range of different dynamics in their relationship, we see them being friends, fighting and becoming friends again.
What do you love about combining singing, dancing and acting in one?
K: Singing, dancing and acting are all my passions, so when they are in one show it’s much easier because I don’t have to choose!
L: You are given more opportunities to express yourself in many different ways and you are not being limited.
Has there been any on or off-stage bonding with this incredible cast and how has it been juggling school work with rehearsing 13 the musical?
K: The whole cast has become like a family to me. Life-long friendships have definitely been made. Luisa and I have formed an incredible bond. It’s been pretty easy juggling school work with rehearsals as they were mostly over the school holidays and on the weekends.
L: The cast have all bonded really well! We are all great friends and have so much fun at rehearsals! It has definitely been a challenge trying to juggle school and rehearsals, but I am not struggling yet.
What does this show teach you about the struggles of high school and how to make it to the other side?
K: It shows you that popularity isn’t everything, and that you should have friends who are supportive of you and trustworthy. You should also stay true to your values.
L: This show really illustrates how high school is a journey of making mistakes, self discovery and getting through with support from those around you.
What is one of your future dreams?
K: I would like to write my own Broadway/West End musical, and i would also like to be in an original Broadway/West End musical cast.
L: To perform in Musicals and share my love for the arts with others.
Why should Melbourne audiences come along to your production and see 13 the musical?
K: This insanely talented cast is the future of musical theatre. They will blow your mind! You don’t want to miss it!
L: We have such a talented cast performing a musical led by the most amazing, supportive creative team. It can be enjoyed by everyone as all of the songs and dances are so much fun.
Fame Reporter Word Play
13 the musical?
K: Growing up, fitting in, and standing out!
L: Snakes (the lollies)
K: To see a show on Broadway and West End
Cats or dogs?
Favourite mantra when you are down?
K: “you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think!” – winnie the pooh
Any secret talents?
K: I’m quite skilled at walking in heels!
L: I can roller-skate
K: Six the musical
Savoury or sweet?
Dressing room necessity?
K: Orderly and calm
K: Matt Cornett
K: Barrett Wilbert Weed
Favourite 13 the musical song?
K: Being a geek
L: Bad Bad News
Place you want to travel to?
K: New York
K: To be in an original Broadway or West End cast
L: To teach others and share my love for performing
Tv show binge?
K: High school musical the musical the series
L: Money Heist
Finally, favourite thing about performing?
K: Meeting new people and creating life-long friendships
L: To express myself creatively
Thank-you for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for 13 the Musical!
13 the Musical
Playing 3-6 March 2022
The Clocktower Centre Melbourne
All photos and videos – Supplied