I'm not sure if I can announce that the '80s or back, or the early '00s are back — but either way we're about to celebrate a lot of fashion awkwardness now that 13 Going On 30 is going to be a Broadway musical. If you're unacquainted with the Jennifer Garner-starring take on Big, it follows 13-year-old Jenna Rink after she wakes up and finds out she's suddenly 30, flirty, and thriving... and also an editor at a big time magazine. In short, it's pure and delightful kitsch with an incredible retro soundtrack. So, you have to wonder if 13 Going On 30 is going to be a jukebox musical.
Well, according to Deadline, "Most of the show’s music will be original with the bookwriters and composer/lyricist teams having recently begun working together. Licensing 'Thriller' and other source cues has not been ruled out." Subtext being, yeah, they're probably not going to full-on buy the rights to a Michael Jackson song, fam. It's certainly not impossible, and one or two songs may be integrated into the play, but it's mainly going to be original works. Which is not the end of the world, but will definitely make the musical differ from the film.
See, what you can probably expect is a lot of '80s styled and '80s-inspired songs written to compliment the songs playing in the background of the movie. For example, when the '80s pastiche The Wedding Singer was adapted into an off-Broadway musical, composers had to create substantial substitutes to fill in for certain scenes. So instead of having Adam Sandler have an iconic breakdown to The J. Geils Band's "Love Stinks," you have the reworked original "Casualty of Love."
And that already puts the adaptation in a sort of shaky ground, since Jenna's big "Thriller" dance scene is a lovely centerpiece of the movie, showing she can use her affliction (i.e. going from the '80s to early '00s in a day) to liven up the party. I'm sure they'll find a way around it, but it'll definitely be interesting to see how.
But these kind of musicals are done all the time, and I hold out hope that it could be done right. Maybe "Thriller" and company will find a place in the play, maybe not. As long as 13 Going On 30 retains it's youthful spirit and all that delightfully kitchiness, I'd happily buy a ticket.
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (2)