CenterStage pulls the curtain back on upcoming “13: The Musical” to share insight from cast members

13: The Musical Cast members (From Left to Right: Bracey, Ashley, Julian, Philips) pose for a quick photo. (Photos provided by the Trager Family JCC)

Before their Sunday rehearsal, four cast members of “13: The Musical” shared their thoughts and excitement about the production as well as their love of music, acting and much more.

For her part, Kennedy Julian, a YPAS freshman, started getting excited about acting by watching Disney Channel’s “Dance Sensation.” Julian started dancing competitively when she was two years old and hasn’t missed a step since. She landed her first acting role at four years old when she stole the show in a CenterStage Academy production of “Annie.” Her other roles included Young Anna in “Frozen,” Deloris Van Cartier in “Sister Act” and Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family.”

Julian says, “I believe fellow teens will see this show and understand that we’re all trying to fit in.”

It’s not all stage and screen for Julian, she also enjoys playing the guitar and has played field hockey for the last five years.

For Chase Phillips, a YPAS junior, singing and dancing is a family affair, “My Dad and Uncle were in a ‘boy band’ when they were younger. There’s always music at my house.”

Governor’s School for the Arts alum and part of Keen Dance Theatre, Phillips has performed with Stage One, Actors Theatre, Redline, LCCC, Faithworks and has toured nationally. Phillips enjoys voiceover acting and songwriting.

He says, “Our upcoming production is an amazing show that relates to anyone. You can see yourself in each character. Erin Silliman, CenterStage director, arts and ideas, has done a great job in making the mental health issues brought up in the show more real.”

Along with time in the spotlight, Phillips also enjoys baking, “Macaroons are my specialty.”

Drew Ashley, a freshman at YPAS, recalls his first roll as a four year old in CenterStage’s production of “Tommy.” He loved it and after that decided to get voice and dance lessons.

Ashley enjoyed roles as Schwartz in “A Christmas Story,” Michael in “Elf the Musical” at Derby Dinner Playhouse and Pugsley in “The Addams Family” at Dancensation Studios. A self-described Taylor Swift “super fan,” he loves listening to her music. He also enjoys cooking and collecting vinyl records. Ashley says “13: The Musical” is the type of production that will make you laugh and cry and the music is very catchy.”

Leilani Bracey, a freshman musical theater major at YPAS, says the upcoming production emphasizes working together. If you don’t fit into a group right away, you will find your people. This show and my character has taught me what it means to be a true friend.”

While this is her first show with the Trager Family JCC CenterStage, Bracey is no stranger to the stage and has appeared in YPAS Professional Theater’s production of “Once On The Island” as Young Timoune and as a caroler in “A Christmas Carol” at Actors Theatre. Other roles include Daughter of Clarence in “Richard III” at Kentucky Shakespeare and her community theater roles include Alice in “Alice in Wonderland,” Genie in “Aladdin Jr.,” Josephine in “Threads of Our History” and many more.

Along with playwriting and acting, Bracey is also interested in social work and advocacy where she can “see the world through other people’s eyes.”

CenterStage delivers quality community theatre and spectacular musicals. The theatre gives local performers, designers and musicians an opportunity to practice their passions all while fulfilling the organization’s collective mission to “open minds, one act at a time.”

For tickets and more information about CenterStage, visit:

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