Friday, July 29, 2011

TADW: The Callbacks!

Here are some encouraging words from just a few of our alumni who came to the invitational performance of Music Man. What is it about TADW at CSUN that brings siblings, 2nd generation kids and friends to TADW? Ask an alum!

"The Callbacks" is an alumni group established in 2011 by Marylata (Elton) Jacob to help bring attention and strength to the newly established TADW Endowment Fund.

With a generous $10,000 lead gift secured – the endowment allows matching $1 for every $2 donated. For example, a $1,000 gift will be matched with $500 from the lead gift.

You can make a donation online from our website - you'll also find information about how to send a check by snail mail.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Ann Burroughs Family Scholarship

Angelica Mejia and Sydney Reyes with Doug Kaback
The Sights and Sounds of TADW:
The Ann Burroughs Family Scholarship

At The Teenage Drama Workshop, the students always come first. The kids in TADW come from all walks of life (a unique quality that TADW prides itself in).

With today's economic constraints, some students are unable to pay the full price of tuition. That being said, TADW is fortunate to have some amazing people who every year without fail or hesitation make sure that the kids who want to go to TADW can! Today I wanted to highlight the Burroughs scholarship.

Ann Burroughs
The Burroughs Family Scholarship is named for the late Ann Burroughs, who was a long-time administrative analyst in the CSUN Department of Theatre and a great friend to the workshop. The scholarship is funded by the Burroughs family and provides two $500 scholarships for students with financial need.

Through this generous gift, the spirit of Ann's wonderful and caring heart lives on each year, as two deserving talented students get their moment to shine! This year's recipients are Angelica Mejia (Music Man) and Sydney Reyes (The Jungle Book).
So thank you Burroughs family, it’s you and our many other wonderful donors who help keep the program alive, and our kids smiling!
-Hailey Graves

Clean, Shiny and Ready for Music Man/Opening Night!

Everyone, parent and alum alike, is doing their part to get the Campus Theaters ready for the opening night of The Music Man. Here's TADW Alum and TADW Endowment Benefactor Marylata (Elton) Jacob getting the bulletin boards ready - and did I mention CLEAN!?

You can see they look good, and you can see from these photos she put a lot of detail into her task, but if you really want to see these works of art, come see a show!

Jungle Book (til 8/6), Music Man (til 8/5), and the Ten Minute Play Festival (8/4 and 8/5) won't run all summer - so gather up the family and friends and come see a show or three!  Tickets: 818-677-2488.

No fleck of dust survived!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pictures/ Stills/ Photos/ Flickr! Jungle Book, Callbacks, and Allan Rich

Just checking - have you seen our Flickr page lately?  We've got great pics of our Jungle Book invitational, the Callbacks, and our visit with Allan Rich. Take a look!

More more more!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Man Sneak Peek!

Just a tiny sneak peek at some of the elements of Music Man!

Allan Rich and TADW Scholarship Recipient, Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas, Mowgli in the 2011 TADW production of Jungle Book, is also the recipient of a scholarship from "We Care About Kids" a non-profit founded by actor Allan Rich. Hailey Graves talked with Joshua and Allan about acting - and moreover, about being human.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Big Day at TADW: President, Dean, Chair and Invitational (Here's a sneak peek)

What a truly awesome day! We started off with a visit from CSUN President Koester, Dean Bucker and Theatre Chair Lennon. Pics and video will be available soon - we sang our gratitude to President Koester for her long time support of TADW. She has been a true champion of our projects and we are big fans of Jolene Koester. We sang a special adaptation of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" (thanks to Diane Ketchie's wit) and "Wind Beneath My Wings," because that's just what she's been to us.

And this evening was our Invitational show of Jungle Book, with special guests in the audience, "The Callbacks" our fast growing alumni group. Here's a sneak peek of Jungle Book, and a number to call for tickets.

Please share! Some shows are already sold out, but we still have tickets available. 818-677-2488 (order by phone)!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"I'm a Professional! I've Had Three Performances!"

Sights and sounds of TADW:
“I'm a professional! I've had three performances!" - Fozzie Bear

Bruce Lanoil
The cast of Jungle Book got a surprise visit last Monday from an actual Muppet!  It was Bruce Lanoil who has been a puppeteer since the early 1980’s when he joined Sid and Marty Croft’s Puppet School while he was a student at CSUN.

I asked Bruce when he started working for the Muppets.  He said, “Jim Henson came west for the TV show Dinosaurs. I auditioned and got the part, and that’s when I got my career," Bruce told me, "I’ve been blessed to be able to about a movie every year sense I joined the Muppets”

Bruce / Dinosaurs
Ronnie Sperling, one of the directors of Jungle Book, was at CSUN with Bruce.  He asked the skilled puppeteer to come in and do a demonstration for the TADWanians, and to help out one of the cast members who will be working with a puppet.  As Bruce gave his lesson, Ronnie leaned over to me and said, “These kids won’t remember me or what play they were in, but are going to remember that an actual Muppet came and talked with them.”

The kids' eyes were glued to Bruce, and you could see their personal little light bulbs of intrigue lighting up left and right. Bruce and his puppets were all they could talk about for the rest of the day. When I got the chance to talk with him one-on-one, he told me this was his first-ever interaction with  TADW kids and it was very fun. “My sister in law did TADW a long time ago so I knew what it was.”

He also said he's fascinated in the new interest among young people and puppets. “They really love working with puppets, and I’m like, good for them!”

So thank you Bruce for coming to TADW! Who knows? He might have awakened the interest of the next Jim Henson.

-Hailey Graves

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flashmob at CSUN Movie Night

What happens when a group of singers from Level 2 do a little moonlighting at CSUN's Movie Night?
They attract bigger audiences! Thank you Level 2's for getting the word out there! We've dubbed you "LevL2s." After the summer season's over, maybe you can take it on tour!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer at CSUN/TADW: Show this to Friends who Wonder

You can say "teenage" and "theatre" in the same sentence at a nice summer pool party, but can your description match the color, tone, dynamism of actually showing what we do at TADW? Can it explain the long term gain that can begin to grow on a hot summer day with a paintbrush in one hand and a script in the other (and dancing shoes on your feet)?

Share this video with your friends who wonder about what TADW is. Then have 'em buy tickets to see YOU or your technical expertise in Music Man, Jungle Book and the 10 Minute Play Festival.

Tickets 818/ 677-2488
$14/adults; $10/kids and seniors (no reserved seating)
Groups/$7 for groups of 10 or more

I mean, just LOOK at last year!

Go ahead, share it with everybody: it's a great example of TADW!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Generous Gift Establishes Endowment: Here's How You Can be Part of It!

Donate and make endowment dollars stretch farther!

Many former workshop participants remember their summers in TADW as some of the most gratifying in their lives, and have enrolled their own children in the program over the years. Among them, Marylata E. Jacob, who was part of the workshop from 1973 to 1975. Jacob’s son Aaron is in his third year with TADW and has a key role in this summer’s production of “The Music Man.”

“A long-lasting benefit of theatrical training in the adolescent years are the life skills and work ethic the teens learn that will last into their adult years,” said Jacob, who has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in music that includes work on award-winning feature films, collaborations with a number of legendary musical artists and a Grammy nomination.

As a “thank you” for the skills she learned while with TADW, Jacob and her husband Danny Jacob, composer and song producer for Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb,” have made a generous gift to establish an endowment to support the workshop. In addition to Jacob, other Teenage Drama Workshop alumni include Oscar nominees Mare Winningham and Elizabeth McGovern.

“For 54 years, this inspiring program continues to harness high-voltage teen energy into joyful productivity. I want to be sure teens keep getting this opportunity,” Jacob said. “The Valley’s cornfields may be gone, its orange groves may now be relegated to a corner of the CSUN campus, but TADW is still a powerful, vibrant presence. It is most worthy of the entertainment industry’s financial resources to keep it up and running.”

Kaback said he was “thrilled” by Jacob’s gesture.

“The arts are so important to students’ academic and social development,” he said. “This gift from the Jacobs helps us make sure we can keep offering TADW for years to come.”

For more information about TADW or performances of “The Music Man,” “Jungle Book” or the “10-Minute Play Festival,” call (818) 677-5811, email or visit the website

SEE also:

Every morning for the past few weeks, more than 90 teenagers have been immersed... Read the entire news release about TADW.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It’s a bird it’s a plane it’s TADWIANS!!!

The sights and sounds of TADW
It’s a bird it’s a plane it’s TADWIANS!!!

If you were to have wandered the halls of TADW last Friday, you would have rubbed shoulders with Batman and Robin, the Power Puff Girls, Green Lantern, Super Man, and many other masked and caped avengers.

It was week two of themed Fridays and it was come dressed as your favorite superhero. Some heroes were easy to recognize, others were obscure, but all were extremely creative, providing an opportunity for the students and staff of TADW to show off their great imaginations. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself!!!
More pics on our flickr page soon.

-Hailey Graves

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sewing Needles Ready!

When you think about it, you realize a costume is really a character’s skin. While the actor must bring this person to life, it is the costume that gives the audience at a quick glance, insight to the person/ persons residing in this imaginary world. At TADW, the costumes do just that, due to the sheer brilliance, commitment and care from the amazing costume designers.

The two costume designers this summer, Ann Wilson (designer for Music Man) and Maro Parian (designer for The Jungle Book), have pulled all the stops to bring these two fabulous worlds a stunning look! Both agree that to make great costumes you need to have very good communication with the directors. Maro, who has been a costume designer for thirty years, and has worked with TADW for nine, says that when working with directors, “they tell me ideas, I tell them whether it will work or not, I just really, really have to listen.”

She also says that for The Jungle Book she pulled most of her inspiration from her childhood. She spoke of the Russian version of The Jungle Book simply entitled Mowgli, as though she were talking about a childhood friend. She also noted that when the directors told her they were thinking in the theme of Bollywood that, “it was like opening up a whole new world, and the possibilities were just like - wow.”

Ann who has been costume designing for 16 years, and working with CSUN for eleven, says that for this play she’s been able to draw on the already, “wonderful costumes here at CSUN,” and doing some research into the time period. “It’s been very important for the director and myself to get the colors and time period right.”

While these amazing designers are hard at work creating the perfect outfit, (having only two to three weeks to dress an entire cast) TADW students are popping in and out of the dressing rooms, (some with furry animal skins, others looking like proper ladies and gents) giggling at each other, and strutting their stuff as they get to see the character they are portraying come to life. “Working with kids is so much better than working with adults.” Says Ann Wilson, “It doesn’t matter what you put them in; they are always excited about their costume.” As we continued to talk she looked at me and said, “Take this shirt for example, -she held up a small, long sleeve, yellow, plain, button up tee, and then looked at the boy who will be wearing it- if his mother bought him this exact same shirt at JC Penney he wouldn’t look twice. But because he gets to be Winthrop in this shirt, it’s instantly cool.”

But these remarkable costume designers are so much more than extremely skilled seamstresses, they both have wonderful hearts for the students at TADW (they also both either have children in the program or working in TADW). Maro told me that she, “just loves this age group. I enjoy seeing their work and their different levels of talent and commitment. Working with these students helps me with my own children.” Ann told me that her favorite part of TADW was the “…collaborative process. These students are committed and serious to working on their skills. I’ve worked at middle schools and other places, and those kids don’t have the same commitment and work ethic that TADW students do.”

These ladies don’t just dress these kids to make them look good; they dress them so they feel good. Which is yet another amazing example of how TADW doesn’t just simple focus on making the students looking good on the outside, but also instilling them with confidence on the inside.

Hailey Graves

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jungle Book and Remo Drum Company

As if we weren't already excited enough about this summer's production of Jungle Book, the steady rhythm of drums throughout Nordhoff Hall is keeping our spirits - and curiosity - up!  And we have Remo Drum Company to thank - they've provided a tremendous selection of drums for our production, and in turn, we want to be sure you all know that just a few miles down the road - in North Hollywood - you can attend a free community drum circle just about any Tuesday night at Remo Music Center: RMC.

Remo Belli started Remo Drum Company years ago with some of the first synthetic drum heads to hit the market.  They became popular fast, because animal skins, which had been used to make drum heads since the first drums, change tone according to heat, weather changes, humidity.

But enough about the technology of drumming - go out and play and bring your friends. Drum circles don't require any musical expertise, they just require a spirit of curiosity and a desire to have fun! And when you do go, let 'em know you're connected to Teenage Drama Workshop!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No One Wanted to Wake Up

The sights and Sounds of TADW – No one wanted to wake up…

Friday was a blur of flannel, fuzzy bunny slippers, footie pajamas, laughter and shouts of “hurry up!” as TADW students scuttled into place for the group photo! It was pajama day at TADW (the first of many themed Fridays) and practically everyone including staff, got into the comfy spirit and wore their PJ’s! These themed Fridays are created by the students, and can range from "wear your PJ’s" to "come dressed as your favorite super hero."
These simple weekly events actually strengthen theatrical skills: participants discover yet another way to get in touch with their imagination and creativity, and the group participation boosts a sense of cohesiveness among the students.

These events also show a glimpse at the heart within the Teenage Drama Workshop. TADW is so much more than a summer program where kids grow in their skills as young actors, singers, dancers and techies; it’s a family where you can feel comfortable to be yourself, no questions asked.

I can’t wait to find out next Friday’s theme!

By Hailey Graves, TADW Alum, intern and blogger.

More pics on our facebook page (and coming soon to Flickr).