Friday, July 16, 2010

Sperling's "A Faery Hunt" Comes to the Workshop

The Teenage Drama Workshop's own Ronnie Sperling and Chris Halsted gave their students a glimpse into their professional lives today, when the duo presented a portion of their live show, "A Faery Hunt," which is the longest-running kids' show in Los Angeles.*

In each acting class today, the students got a visit from Noll the Troll (Sperling) and Isfandiar, the Simurg (Halsted).  Fans of Sperling and Halsted noticed many of their favorite comedy elements in the performance - from the vaudeville-style jokes, to the commedia dell'arte masks.

After the performance, Sperling shared with the students that "A Faery Hunt" is now in development to be a TV show.

"You are among the first ones to hear this," Sperling said. "We have a development deal for 12 episodes."

For Sperling, this most recent success is anything but overnight. A working actor "forever," Sperling's professional career has included stints in the national tour of "Grease" (as Eugene) and numerous TV commercials and appearances. He even appeared as The Mad Hatter on extra content featured on the Disney "Alice in Wonderland" DVD. And recently, he appeared opposite James Franco on "General Hospital."

After attending CSUN's Theatre Department, Sperling began working as a professional actor, earning his Screen Actors Guild card opposite Jack Lemmon and Walter Mattheau in Billy Wilder's last film "Buddy, Buddy." 

"I had a passion for this since I was the age of these kids (at TADW)," Sperling said. "It was the only thing I ever wanted to do and I never deterred from it."

Sensing the challenge in becoming a "star," Sperling said his primary goal was to be a working actor.  "I did it," he said. "I found a way to stay working all these years, and managed to feed my family doing what I love." 

In addition to teaching at TADW, Sperling also teaches improv to teenagers at the ComedySportz Theatre in Hollywood. And when he's not working in commercials and TV, he's writing for television and doing live comedy and theatre performances, as well as corporate shows.

"Working as an actor can be like a roller-coaster," Sperling said. "When it rains it pours, but it can also be dry.  You just have to keep doing something. Stay involved. If that means getting friends together to do a play reading, or renting a theatre to do your own show, you have to do something."

This is Sperling's second go-round at TADW.  He also taught in the workshop in the 1980s, where he met his wife Romy, who ran lights on his show.  "She was the tech director," he said. 

Happy to be back at the workshop after directing the acclaimed production of "Pinocchio" last summer, Sperling said many elements of TADW are the same two decades later. "You still have kids and we're still doing shows," he said, "but what Doug Kaback has done with this program is really special. The idea that we do these two really wonderful productions is really great."

About his upcoming production of "Seussical," Sperling said he is excited to present it in a new way -- with a heavy dose of Seuss.  "There are lots of Seuss things throughout and this amazing puppet element," he added.

Seussical, directed by Sperling, opens July 28 in the Campus Theatre at CSUN.  For tickets, visit

*"A Faery Hunt," the longest-running kids show in LA, won the Nickelodeon Parents' Picks award last year. The show is nominated again in 2010! Support Ronnie and Chris with your vote:

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