The Riviera Ridge School invites community members to the New Vic Theater for this year’s Middle School musical “13: The Musical,” which shines a light on the ups and downs of growing up, coming of age, and restoring relationships along the way.

The show opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 with other performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.

“I selected ’13: the Musical’ because it’s a fun, upbeat new show that gives our students a chance to be themselves and to talk about the topics and things that they deal with on a day-to-day basis in middle school,” said Miriam Dance, Riviera Ridge’s director of visual and performing arts.

“This production is special because after taking a group of students to the Junior Theater Festival in Sacramento last year, I saw a potential in advanced storytelling in these students that I hadn’t seen before,” she said. “We are stepping away from our normal junior version of the musical and putting on a full-fledged show.”

For the past nine years at Riviera Ridge, Dance has been directing plays, including “The Little Mermaid” and “Grease,” and teaching classes. She is also a professional actor, singer and director.

“Miriam is an incredible example for our students of the magic that can happen when you work hard, collaborate positively, and follow your dreams,” said Chris Broderick, head of school. “She has consistently created spectacular productions for us while living out her talents outside school.

“It’s truly inspiring for anyone to witness but especially for her students, who get guided by her grace and vision.”

In “13: The Musical,” as with all Riviera Ridge musicals, students are given the opportunity to take on a role or responsibility that goes beyond just acting. The program is differentiated and individualized to allow everyone to shine. Students can choose to get into stage managing, creating the sets, or running the sound and lighting.

“Musical theater is important for middle school students because it pushes students to try new things and become more confident,” Dance said. “Musical theater allows students to tell a story from their perspective, and taking on the roles of different characters teaches empathy.

“With stories such as ‘13’, students get a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be a friend and how to accept others and their differences; lessons that can be carried on throughout their lives,” Dance said.

For more about The Riviera Ridge School, email or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.