Tag Archives: Andrew Maskoff

“13” + 2

“13” opened on Broadway in 2008. That makes the musical — about a New York boy whose upcoming bar mitzvah is upended by his parents’ divorce, and his move with his mother to Indiana — 14 years old.

But it lives on. “13” — the movie, starring Debra Messing and Rhea Perlman — debuted on Netflix earlier this month. The cast includes a host of young teenagers. dancing and singing about becoming a man, middle school, crushes and first kisses.

Of course, you can’t get 40 kids to actually sing and dance in a movie. So Jason Robert Brown — who adapted the film from his own original music and lyrics — recruited 8 actual 13- and 14-year-old to provide vocals for the big number.

And — this being musical theater-crazy Westport — 2 of those teenagers are from right here.

Andrew Maskoff and Ari Sklar met at Coleytown Middle School. Andrew wrote the script for a short film, for the 2021 Coleytown Company Revue. He and Ari spent hours editing it in the piano room at Ari’s house.

During breaks, they tore through every Broadway score on the shelf, Dan says. (He’s an actor, along with a rabbi and cantor; his wife Shirah is a rabbi/cantor too.)

From left: Dan Sklar and Ari Sklar. They performed together last fall in Music Theater of Connecticut’s “Falsettolands.”

“It was amazing to watch these kindred spirits make music together,” Dan notes. “They’re 2 years apart in school, so Ari can’t wait to meet up with him at Staples next fall.” (Andrew — a member of Staples Players — will be a sophomore this fall. Ari is a rising 8th grader.)

Neither knew that the other had sent an audition tape to Brown’s request for backup vocalists.

Ari and Dan were the first people to arrive at the New York studio last summer. The next singer was Andrew. The boys stared at each other in disbelief.

When Brown showed up, he had an impish grin. He knew they would know each other. He had wanted their meeting to be a surprise.

Ari Sklar and Andrew Maskoff, during a break from recording “13.”

The boys were “pros in the studio,” Sklar says. “It was a power session of over 8 hours.

“Jason and Georgia Stitt (his wife, and a noted composer and music director) couldn’t have been kinder to the kids. Jason is a mensch of the first order. He even gave a shout-out to them all in a blog post (click here). 

Backup vocalists for “13” include Ari Sklar (5th from left) and Andrew Maskoff (far right).

“13” had special relevance for Ari. While singing backup vocals for the movie, he was preparing for his own bar mitzvah, held this summer in Israel.

Mazel tov to both him and Andrew!

(Click below for a clip from “13.” Actor Eli Golden is lip synching; vocals for all the others was recorded by Andrew Maskoff, Ari Sklar and 6 others.)

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For Coleytown Company, The Show Must Go On. And Boy, Did It!

First, Coleytown Middle School’s Company lost their stage.

Then they lost their lead.

But the show must go on. This weekend, it did.

Big time.

With great cooperation from Bedford — where Westport’s 2 middle schools now share space, following the closure of CMS last fall due to mold — Coleytown Company was deep in rehearsals for “42nd Street.”

Andrew Maskoff (tie) with (front row, left to right) Drew Andrade, Melody Stanger, Anna Diorio. Rear: Lucy Docktor, Jordyn Goldshore, Kathryn Asiel and Demitra Pantzos. (Photo/Colleen Coffey)

On Tuesday, director Ben Frimmer learned that Andrew Maskoff — the 6th grade lead — had to go on vocal rest. He could not talk or sing until the show.

Frimmer was determined to get him on stage. In the meantime, he needed a fill-in for rehearsals — and the possibility that Andrew could not perform at all.

There were 3 possibilities.  Frimmer could recruit his son Jonah — a 7th grader in Weston who has done 3 Equity productions. He could go on himself. Or he could ask a Staples High student to step in.

Frimmer chose the third. He called Staples Players director David Roth, who suggested Max Herman. The senior had just completed a fantastic run in “Curtains.”

Frimmer knew Max well. They’d worked together on 3 CMS shows.

The director called him at 1 p.m. An hour later, Max was at Bedford rehearsing.

He rehearsed all week — including following behind Andrew, who walked him through the blocking.

Andrew Maskoff (center) helps Max Herman with his blocking. (Photo/Colleen Coffey)

Andrew went on Friday night. But it was clear that 2 more shows would be too much. Max took the stage Saturday, so Andrew could close out the run on Sunday.

“I have never seen a student make as mature a decision as Andrew,” Frimmer says.

Having survived Saturday night, the cast was excited yesterday to have everyone back on stage.

Suddenly — just 30 minutes before the curtain rose — another supporting lead was struck with a migraine.

Staples freshman Nina Driscoll — another Coleytown Company alum who had served as assistant director — immediately offered to step in.

In just half an hour Frimmer and his assistants ran her through her songs and dances, and highlighted her script. Ten minutes before showtime, she announced she was off book — she knew the script — and was ready to go.

Nina Driscoll (3rd from left) with (from left) Sacha Maidique, Callum Madigan and Maggie Teed.

That’s show business.

And that’s why Westport loves Ben Frimmer, Staples Players — and especially Coleytown Company.

(Hat tips: Tami Benanav and Nick Sadler)

Drew Andrade dances, accompanied by (from left) Eliza Walmark, Rima Ferrer, Emma Schorr. Cece Dioyka, Drew Andrade, Ava Chun, Kathryn Asiel, Keelagh Breslin. (Photo/Colleen Coffey)

“42nd Street” dancers (from left) Vivian Shamie, Kathryn Asiel and Demitra Pantzos. (Photo/Colleen Coffey)