The storyline was cute and familiar: A Jewish boy is about to have his Bar Mitzvah when his parents move him away from shiny NYC to Bumbletown, Indiana. There he deals with the intrigue of adolescence and puberty in a small town. He learns valuable lessons about friendship and the cost of popularity.
As evidenced by my college era review of 13, I had High School Musical on my mind while I watched it and was none-too-favorably comparing the two. I probably wouldn't remember much of 13, other than the song I bought on iTunes called "It Can't Be True": a beautiful, perfect depiction of Lashon Hara, the concept of gossip and its harmful consequences taught ad nauseam in every Orthodox Jewish high school.
The musical itself might have been a flop, but I'd like to suggest that as a sample, 13 was wildly successful. Giving legitimate Broadway stage time to an entire cast of underage actors yielded actual results. Maybe the combination of subjects and subject matter didn't sit well with Broadway audiences, but by giving these actors an unheard-of opportunity at such a young age, the producers of 13 clearly jump started the careers of at least three of them. I'd say that if such a production were to be staged again, you'd be able to pick out three more rising stars. So that's my two cents: Stage more young plays so we can have our own previews of the actors who are going to make it big some day.