Monday, June 29, 2009

Sherwin’s Signature Move

Every choreographer has an arsenal of secret weapons and Candy Sherwin, the long-time choreographer for the Teenage Drama Workshop, is no different. Returning TADW students know that Candy’s signature move always makes an appearance in every show she choreographs. Maybe you saw it in last year’s production of “High School Musical” or at the 2008 Munch and Crunch musical theatre review? This year, look for it in “The Wiz” and at this year’s Munch and Crunch recital on Aug. 2. See if you can spot the “Candy Drape,” as demonstrated here by some of Candy’s dedicated dance students. (Pictured L-R: Matt Fairlee, Rachel Weissler and Bobby Lebeda.)

Meet Team Wiz

Ed Archer, the long-time music director for the Teenage Drama Workshop, is joined at CSUN this summer by his wife Joanne, who is directing “The Wiz.” Together with their fellow CSUN alumnus and choreographer Candy Sherwin, the Archers are working with a cast of three-dozen teens to bring to life Dorothy’s magical and adventure-filled trip to Oz. Fans of “The Wiz” on stage or on film will enjoy such favorites as “Ease on Down The Road” and “A Brand New Day,” but Sherwin and the Archers promise the show will have its own TADW flair. Here’s a hint: You won’t want to miss The Wiz in this version of “The Wiz,” which opens July 17 in the Campus Theatre. For info or tickets, visit (Pictured L-R: Candy Sherwin, Ed Archer and Joanne Archer.)

Meet Team Pinocchio

They’re the dynamic duo behind the Teenage Drama Workshop’s new production of “Pinocchio”. Meet director Ronnie Sperling (pictured at right) and assistant director Chris Halsted (pictured at left). Sperling, a CSUN alumn, is pleased to be back at TADW this year for "Pinocchio," which he updated from the classic Italian fable by Carlo Collodi. He describes his modernized version as “Cirque du Soleil-meets-commedia dell’arte.” Halsted says the new production has a lot of fun surprises in store for the audience. Discover them for yourself when “Pinocchio” opens July 22 in the Little Theatre. For info or tickets, visit

For Wilsons, TADW is a Family Affair

When it comes to the Wilson family, summer at the Teenage Drama Workshop sounds like a Hollywood movie: “Dad’ll build the sets! Mom’ll sew the costumes. Let’s put on a show!” Tom Wilson is currently building the complex sets for “The Wiz”, while his wife Anne prepares the costumes for the show. Meanwhile, son Kyle is doing set construction and painting for both “The Wiz” and “Pinocchio.” And they’re adding a new Wilson family member in Sarah Figoten, who is assisting with costumes for “The Wiz”. (Figoten just got engaged to another Wilson son, Ryan.) This is the Wilsons’ eighth season with TADW. Previously, they’ve done sets and costumes for “High School Musical,” “Peter Pan,” “Narnia,” “Beauty & The Beast,” “Cinderella” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” (Photo L-R: Kyle Wilson, Anne Wilson, Tom Wilson, Sarah Figoten.)

Parent Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

On Friday, June 26, the first Parent Advisory Committee for the 2009 Teenage Drama Workshop was held in the Green Room in Nordhoff Hall. The meeting was well attended by parents and guardians, and even a few grandparents. It was a chance for attendees to learn about plans for the summer, including a proposed silent auction and raffle at Munch and Crunch, the traditional culmination of TADW, at 10 a.m. on Aug. 2. (If you are interested in donating items to the auction or if you want more information, email Parents also heard from TADW director Doug Kaback about opportunities for ticket gifting to nonprofit organizations, and from parent liaison Beth Lasky, who took sign-ups from those who want to be ushers at TADW shows. PAC meetings are held on Fridays throughout TADW, but due to the 4th of July holiday, the next PAC meeting is Thursday, July 2 at 2:30. All are welcome.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Young Writers Prepare for “10 Minute Play Festival"

For students in TADW’s playwriting elective, this is crunch time. Already, the young writers are busy putting the finishing touches on their one-act plays, which will be cast (using actors from TADW’s improvisation elective), rehearsed, and staged in the Studio Theatre on July 30 and July 31 during the annual “10 Minute Play Festival.” “From relationships to family life, and from fantasy to reality—everything is fair game for these playwrights,” says TADW director Doug Kaback, who teaches the playwriting class with CSUN students Toon Sie, Melissa Fillbeck and William Coates. Kaback urges parents and friends to get their tickets early, because this event is usually a sell-out. (For tickets, visit Some material may not be suitable for very young children.

Broadway Show T-Shirt Day!

It is tradition at TADW to have special Friday dress-up days, and Friday June 26 was "Broadway Show T-Shirt Day." Spotted in the halls were shirts from "Wicked," "In The Heights," "Ave. Q," "The Wiz," "Suessical," "Xanadu," "Tommy" and "Fiddler on the Roof." Bobby Lebeda (soon to be seen as the Cowardly Lion in "The Wiz") took matters into his own hands, wearing a homemade shirt that read "This is my Broadway T-Shirt."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet The Lopez Brothers

Two of the friendliest faces you’ll meet at TADW belong to Jim (pictured at right) and William Lopez (pictured at left), who are returning for their 2nd year. “The Lopez Brothers,” as they’re affectionately known in the halls, had roles in last year’s production of “High School Musical.” They loved the program so much, they returned for more. Known for their high-flying martial arts skills, Jim (16) and William (15) will appear as “Monkey-Ninjas” in this year’s production of “The Wiz”. Jim is in the Musical Theatre elective. William is in the Improv elective. The brothers attend Northridge Academy High School on the CSUN campus.

TADW Costume Shop Open for Business

Costuming TADW’s productions of “The Wiz” and “Pinocchio” is no small feat, and the costumers for both shows are hard at work in Nordhoff Hall. Fittings and alterations are under way and students are busy trying on attire for their roles. Anne Wilson is costuming the cast of “The Wiz” and Tamera Cooper is costuming the cast of “Pinocchio.” Additionally, Maro Parian, manager of CSUN’s Costume Shop, is providing support for both shows. Wilson and Cooper promise lots of fun surprises in both shows, which feature traditional and not-so-traditional costumes.

Design-Tech Students Learn the Ropes

Students in TADW’s new Design-Tech major are hard at work learning the “ropes” and tricks of the trade. Instructor Caroline Law spent the morning teaching them about tools and equipment for rigging set pieces. The techies later put their newfound skills to use, rigging up Gepetto’s house for TADW’s upcoming production of “Pinocchio”. Additionally, techies Michael Patterson, 14; Sona Parian, 11, and Tyler Roach, 18, primed and painted set flats in the scene shop. “Learn to be a great scenery painter,” Law told the students. “They are in high demand and they make a lot of money!”

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Masai Warrior Chant Vid...As Promised

Doug demonstrates proper chanting technique:

Call-and-response with the entire TADW company:

Masai Warrior Chant a TADW Tradition

If you were strolling through Nordhoff Hall at CSUN on June 22, as the Teenage Drama Workshop held its opening day activities, you might have heard an unfamiliar cry from the Studio Theatre...a Masai Warrior chant. TADW director Doug Kaback began the tradition of singing the African chant on the first and last days of TADW when he took over the program a dozen years ago. Today, he taught students the opening verse “Ya fa ah ya yea lay; Ya fa ah ya yea lay; Mmm dogo jiggy zo.” With their typical exuberance, both the new and returning students took part in the call-and-response style song with Kaback. (Video to come soon!) Kaback says the Masai Warrior chant is “about youth, community, continuity and prosperity.” Look for the company to sing it again at Munch & Crunch on Aug. 2, the traditional culmination of TADW.

TADW Opens Doors on 52nd Season

The 52nd Teenage Drama Workshop kicked off with a bang today, with director Doug Kaback imploring students to cherish “this blessing, this opportunity to come spend the whole day together just being artists.”

Reminding students of the tough economic times we live in, Kaback encouraged the kids to come to TADW and leave their problems at the door. Calling the program a “thrilling, energizing, positive educational experience,” Kaback encouraged the students to “enjoy the process as you become the people who populate the stories we are going to tell.”

Of course, those stories are “The Wiz”, the much-loved adaptation of Dorothy’s journey to Oz, and “Pinocchio,” a modern retelling of the classic Italian fable about a little wooden toy who dreams of becoming a real boy. Complete show schedules available at

Monday, June 8, 2009

Auditions are underway!

The Teenage Drama Workshop at CSUN held its first day of auditions June 6. It was wonderful to see all our students, especially those in the new tech major! For those new to TADW, we hope you had the chance to meet some new friends. Remember: TADW is like a family. We are known for our warm, welcoming environment. So don't be shy! Introduce yourself to some of the "veterans". At left, you'll see some of the TADW regulars, who look forward to our program all year long. (You can tell they are a shy bunch!) Thanks again for coming out for the first day of auditions. We're off to a great start and we are looking forward to seeing everyone back on Saturday, June 13 for Day 2 of auditions. If you have any questions, email