But it is her son’s accomplishments with Cal State Northridge’s acclaimed Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW) that get Jacob so excited that she can hardly contain her enthusiasm. Last year, Aaron Jacob, in his second year with the program was cast as “Mr. Mayor” in “Seussical—The Musical.” He sang “Through Heaven’s Eyes,” a song from the DreamWorks’ musical drama “The Prince of Egypt”—a film for which Marylata Jacob served as Artistic Director, Music.
|Marylata E. Jacob (second from right) with the late Wendie Jo Sperber and fellow members of Teenage Drama Workshop during the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Marlata Jacob)|
Aaron Jacob is just one of several TADW alumni whose parents are also alumni of the program.
“The workshop has been around 53 years,” said executive director for the past 14 years, Doug Kaback, a CSUN theater professor. “We are seeing more and more of the children of former students of the program. It’s so exciting, and it only reinforces how meaningful Teenage Drama Workshop has been to the community, not just to the Cal State Northridge community.”
The TADW program immerses about 80 kids in the day-to-day reality of a professional troupe—from designing, lighting, costumes and sets to learning lines and choreography.
The program started out as an activity for teens that would call attention to the cultural resources available at the brand new campus of what was then San Fernando Valley State College. Over the years, the workshop has grown into a nationally acclaimed drama programs for teenagers, and one of the nation’s oldest.
The workshop is open to students entering grades 7-12. In the morning, the teenagers attend classes that focus on acting, voice and dance and can choose electives in improvisation, musical theater, playwriting and the technical aspect of theater production. The afternoons are spent in rehearsals.
|The cast of a 1970s Teenage Drama Workshop production. (Photo courtesy of Marylata Jacob)|
Jacob and Patterson, a successful theatrical producer in the Bay Area, recalled that many of their fellow “TADWanians” would go on to achieve success in the entertainment industry, including Winningham and actors Arye Gross, Elizabeth McGovern and the late Wendie Jo Sperber.
“So many of us went on to jobs in the entertainment industry,” Patterson said. “There was something about that experience that really made an impact on our lives. I wanted that for my sons.”
Patterson said she spent summers trying to find the right camp for her boys, Andrew and Michael. She was looking for a place where her sons could explore their interests under the guidance of seasoned professionals and educators in a supportive, nurturing environment.
“The division between cool or not cool, that doesn’t happen at TADW,” she said. “Everybody is working together to produce something. When people share a common goal, that makes a difference. There is something about TADW that just turned that light on and showed me who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I can see the same happening with my sons. There is something magical about that program.”
|From left, Michael, Leslie and Andrew Patterson.|
Aaron Jacob said he could understand why the Pattersons made the commute. He said he thoroughly enjoyed “to the fullest extent” his time at TADW. “I loved the environment and the truly professional productions they put on,” he said.
Abridged from CSUN Press Release by Carmen Chandler, University Relations.