Friday, June 19, 2015

TADW 2015 Week 1 Recap

It's 5:00 p.m. on Friday of the first week of the 58th Teenage Drama Workshop. The students have left, the hallways are quiet, and I'm sitting here in my office reflecting on the past few days. We've had a really great first week. It can take a while to adjust to the program, especially for those who are in their first year here. There's the rigorous schedule to adjust to, everyone is still in the process of making new friends, roles in both shows were still being cast. But through it all, I have seen so much positivity, creativity, and energy from our students. What a stellar group of young people we get to work with at TADW!

Below are some snapshots from various parts of TADW during Week 1:


Christiana told me what she was making here, but I have since forgotten.

Fabric for one of Ariel's costumes

Wonka's jacket

A seagull in progress

Fitting Sebastian

ML and Gail working on costumes for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Slicing metal pipes

Yay for girls using power tools!

Nicolaus grinding metal pipes. I am a sucker for photos with sparks in them.

Taking a break in the coral reef

Discussing design projects
Garrett, Ben, and Ducky working on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sets


Chris imparting wisdom in acting class

Some physical conditioning in dance class

Students sing in front of one another in voice class. Diane asked them to provide feedback for each other on what were the strongest parts of their performance in terms of voice and acting.


Rehearsals for The Little Mermaid started out with the whole cast learning some of the big group numbers, like "Under the Sea."

Similarly, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory spent some time this week going over group numbers with the whole cast.

Ronnie directing cast members of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Fun and Shenanigans!

Ok, not really "shenanigans," but hopefully fun: parent volunteer (and TADW alum) Mike helps build a calliope!
Hala's sweet 'stache.

Friday dress-up day #1: TV/movie characters!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Introducing the casts of TADW 58!

On Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th, the halls of TADW filled once more with the bustle of students and staff as we held auditions for the 2015 Teenage Drama Workshop.

Doug Kaback addresses the future TADW students

An absolutely stellar group of young people showed off their singing, dancing, and acting talents.

Chris Halsted gives students direction during acting auditions

Running choreography during dance auditions

Auditioning for The Little Mermaid

Auditions for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Some of our fabulous students in the Tech/Design option came by, as well!
Tech/design students and staff keeping it real at TADW auditions

After two days of auditions and some very tough decisions, the casts for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Little Mermaid were determined:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Candyman - Danny Halsted
Charlie - Henry Parker-Elder
Grandpa Joe - James Johnston
Willy Wonka - Will Riddle
Augustus Gloop - Dylan Halsted
Violet Beuregarde - Rosey Murrah
Verruca Salt - Marisela Venolia
Mike Teavee - Mikey Fabisch
Mr. Bucket - Haller Rice
Mrs. Bucket - Olivia Riddle
Grandma Josephine - JoyAnne Tracy
Grandpa George - Patrick Fitzsimmons
Grandma Georgina - Liliana Magnanimo
Mrs. Gloop - Maya Wimberger
Mrs. Beauregarde - Jenny McNabb
Mr. Salt - Michael Smith
Mrs. Teavee - Sarah Sperling
Cornelia Printzmetel - Megan Ehrenberg
Oompa-Loompas - Sammy Raskin, Spencer Ehrenberg, Zanna Hocker, Mackenzie Rickaby, Charlotte Barnett
Narrators - Sammy Raskin, Danielle Efrat, Rachel Saporito, Nathan Anderson, Mackenzie Rickaby, Charlotte Barnett, Adam Jacobson, Megan Ehrenberg, Joey Nadler, Zanna Hocker, Spencer Ehrenberg
Candy Peddler - Jeremy Bernstein
Slugworth, Fickelgruber, Prodnose, Prince Pondicherry, Oompa-Loompa Chief, and Others!! - TBD

 The Little Mermaid

Ariel - Ariana George
Eric - Canaan Smith
Ursula - Lyrissa Leininger
Sebastian - Griffen Hamilton
King Triton - Noah Gephart-Canada
Scuttle - Colin Mika
Flounder - Daisy Billington
Flotsam and Jetsam - Melanie Besnilian and Liana Leininger
Chef Louis - Mateo Gonzales
Grimsby - William Diament
Pilot - Tom Johnston

MerSisters, Princesses, Maids,  Gulls, and Dancers  - TBA:

Janelle Avila
Emily Besnilian
Taylor Carlson
Ana Chapiro-Luboff
Atticus Cougar
Brittany Dakoske
Madison Esmailbeigi
Natalie Friedman
Elizabeth Grossman
Samantha Harnick
Sierra Heimlich
Amanda Ju
S. Myles Keys
Ella Kriegel
Cameron Maitre
Monica Montoya
Paulina Padilla
Haley Perkins
Megan Phung
Clementine Rice
Chelsea Rifkin
Aria Sie
Rachel Siegel
Jessica Vad

We can't wait to get started on the 58th Teenage Drama Workshop this coming Monday, June 15th!

Friday, May 15, 2015

2015 Auditions are Coming!

Can you believe it: auditions for the 2015 Teenage Drama Workshop are less than two weeks away! Audition information has been sent out to those enrolled in this year's workshop - if you're enrolled and you didn't receive the email, please let us know by emailing us at

Below is all of that information, and a little extra, to help you feel as prepared as possible:

What are the auditions for? 

Everyone who is enrolled in the performance option of TADW will be cast in one of our main productions. (Other performance opportunities, such as the 10 Minute Play Festival and the Munch & Crunch musical revue, will be cast later.)

The purpose of these auditions is to determine which production you will be in and which part you will play.

Additionally, these auditions are used to place students who have requested Musical Theatre as their elective. (The Musical Theatre elective is by audition only.)

When and where do I go?

Auditions will be held on Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th. We will meet in the Little Theatre in Nordhoff Hall at Cal State Northridge. (Check out the link to the map of CSUN on the right side of this page.)

We will begin at 8:30 with a welcome and introduction, and go until 12:15. Students are invited to bring a lunch and picnic with TADW friends until 1:15. Some students may be asked to stay until as late as 2:30 on Saturday (see below for more info).

Do I need to come both days?

Yes, if at all possible. The auditions will be different on each day. If you can only make it to one day of auditions, or if you have to leave before 12:15, please let us know!

What do I need to bring/prepare?

  • You will need to bring the forms that were emailed to you (medical release form, lunch order forms, image release form, off-campus permission form) - again, if you didn't get this email, let us know!
  • Bring dance shoes (or sneakers, if you don't have dance shoes yet) and appropriate clothing for the dance audition.
  • You should prepare a song to sing. It can be any song you feel comfortable singing, but as a rule of thumb, musical theatre songs work much better than pop songs for an audition. You probably will not get to sing your entire song; in the interest of time you will likely only perform a few bars. Please bring accompaniment for your song - either sheet music for the pianist (preferred) or a backup track (with no vocals) either on CD or an MP3 player. We prefer that you do not audition a cappella (without accompaniment) because we want to hear that you can match key and timing as you sing.
  • You do not need to prepare a monologue or a scene for the acting audition.
  • You do not need to prepare a routine for the dance audition.
  • You should bring a lunch if you would like to stay and eat with your new (or old ) TADW friends after the audition.

What will happen at auditions?

As previously stated, the Saturday and Sunday auditions will be a bit different. On both days, you will check in with the TADW staff outside the theatre. This is where you will turn in your forms (and checks, if you have them).

On Saturday:

We will break everyone up into three groups. The groups will be divided by age, so you will be in a group of people about the same age as you are. (For those of you who know about the TADW "levels" - these groups are not necessarily the same as the level you will be in). Each group will rotate through three different audition areas (not necessarily in the following order):

Dancing: With a group, you will be taught a short dance routine and asked to perform it. Many students who don't have dance experience may feel intimidated by this, but don't worry - you won't be alone up there, and attitude is just as important as skill.

Singing: Here, you will be asked to perform the song you have prepared. Again, students often feel nervous if they aren't used to singing in front of people. Don't be! TADW has students of all levels, and this is a very supportive group of people.

Acting: You will either be asked to improvise or you will be given "sides" - short pieces of the script - and asked to read them. You may not get to read for the exact part that you want, but this does not mean that you won't get that part.

On Sunday:

The auditions will be structured more like call-backs, where you will be auditioning for a specific show. Students will be split into groups. Each group will audition for one of our productions. After an hour and a half, the groups will switch. On this day, directors will be taking a closer look at who they want for their show and in what role. Again, performers will be given sides or asked to improvise or possibly to sing a little bit. You do not need to prepare any material for this audition.

When will I be done?

We will stop at 12:15; most people will be done with the audition at this point. You are invited to bring a lunch and picnic with us until 1:15.

After lunch on Saturday, some people may be asked to stay no later than 2:30. If you are asked to stay, you will know by 12:30 so that you can call your parents (or other transportation) and let them know.

On Sunday, we will be done at 12:15.

What does it mean if I am/am not asked to stay?

This is not a callback, and it does not mean that you will or will not be given a certain type of part. If you are asked to stay, it simply means that the director feels he needs to see more of you.

If you are not asked to stay, that does not mean that you are not going to get a good part. It may be that the director already knows how he wants to cast you and doesn't need more time with you to figure it out.

Are parents supposed to stay for auditions?

Parents are welcome to come and check their students in and to stay for the welcome speech on Saturday if they like, but parents are not allowed to watch the auditions. If you choose to park and accompany your child to sign in and for the welcome speech, please be advised that you will have to purchase a $6 parking pass from one of the machines in the parking lot, or you risk getting a ticket.

When will I know what show/part I got????

The directors will be casting the show immediately after the auditions on Sunday, so the cast lists will be ready on Sunday afternoon at around 2:00-3:00. Once the cast lists are determined, they will be disseminated in various ways:

1) Posted on the call board at TADW - some students (usually only a hardy few) tend to hang around and wait for this event to happen, but they may have to wait a couple of hours!

2) Posted on our Facebook page

3) Posted on this blog. :-)

4) You will receive your TADW Student Handbook shortly after auditions, which will also include the cast lists.

What do I do then?

Show up at 8:15 am on Monday, June 15th READY TO ROCK AND ROLL!

Need some words of inspiration? 

Anyone who's ever auditioned has probably heard the voice of their inner critic. TADW acting instructor and adventurer extraordinaire Chris Halsted delivers some inspiring words in this video from the 2013 TADW auditions:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

TADW 58 Meet & Greet Recap

We met, we greeted...

On Sunday, April 19th, we held our annual Meet & Greet in Nordhoff Hall at Cal State Northridge, and a good time was had by all! It was wonderful to see the faces of many of our beloved TADWanians, and to see several new faces as well!

We always enjoy this event, as it's a great chance to catch up with everyone and to share our excitement about the upcoming program. It's also amazing to see how much our TADW students have grown since we last saw them (would you all stop that???).

Below are a few snapshots of the day. We can't wait to see you all in June!
The fierceness of these ladies!


Hugfest 2015

Taylor is ready for #tadw58

Love those smiles.

A captive audience