Jane isn't in Kansas anymore. She's in the heart of New York City, brought there because of her mom's job transfer. Will she fit in?
That's the premise of New York New Year, a new musical by Gary Bagley (book & lyrics) and Michael Mulder (music) for TADA!, New York's only professional youth theatre ensemble. Artistic director Janine Nina Trevens and Wendy Taucher co-direct the piece, which features choreography by Wendy Taucher.
Founded in 1984, the not-for-profit TADA! 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.
In NYNY, 12 performers play the 12 months of the year, as Jane spends her first annum in the Apple. (No question TADA! stays up-to-date in its topics; company spokesperson John Foster notes that Jane's mom occupation is making sure her company is "Y2K proofed".)
Previous TADA! shows include B.O.T.C.H., a satirical look at the subway system; and Rabbit Sense, which incorporated fables by Uncle Remus. With a set by Dean Taucher, lighting by Steven Shelley and costumes by Shelley Norton, New York New York runs Dec. 17-Jan. 17 at TADA!'s home base, 120 West 28th Street. Audiences can also get a taste of the show Dec. 10, 7 PM, at the Chelsea district Barnes & Noble.
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