TADA!, New York's only professional youth theatre ensemble, was founded in 1984. The not-for-profit company stages original musicals written by adults but performed by actors aged 8-17 (with most in the 10-14 range). Performers are chosen from open auditions in NYC public schools, many of them in poor, inner-city neighborhoods. Coming out of the TADA! experience have been such performers as Ricki Lake.
Up next is a return engagement of the musical comedy, B.O.T.C.H., a satirical look at the New York City subway system. As three children from Buffalo arrive for a day of sightseeing, they get lost in the underground maze and encounter a mummy from the Museum of Natural History, an oil painting rat who dreams of exhibiting at the Met, and a broup of trouble making kids who work for B.O.T.C.H. (that is, the Bureau Of Turmoil, Chaos and Headaches).
B.O.T.C.H. reopens Dec. 19 for a run through Jan. 19. A collaboration by composer Daniel Feigelson and librettist/lyricist Jon Agee, B.O.T.C.H. was originally staged in 1992. TADA! Artistic director Janine Nina Trevens directs this remounting, which has choreography by Dani Altiere and musical direction by Eric Rockwell. Designing B.O.T.C.H. are Wendy Ponte (sets), Gina Maria Piazza (costumes) and Karen Spahn (lighting).
TADA! (which bills itself as, "the biggest name in little kids") also offers training for kids in week-long, intensive, musical theatre workshops. All material in the "Rainbow Stages" program is drawn from original works containing songs and characters specifically written for performance by children, the idea being to help kids develop self confidence, coordination, listening and concentration skills, as well as singing, acting, ensemble work and dancing proficiency. For information on TADA!'s classes and auditions, as well as tickets to B.O.T.C.H., call (212) 627-1732.
--By David Lefkowitz