Comment

INSPIRING PLAYFULNESS

As theatre artists, we need a constant reminder to stay PLAYFUL. After all, we do PLAYS, so the act of being PLAYFUL should sit in the core of our training. But this can be hard to remember, especially when we are in the thick of learning lines, drilling choreography, and honing vocal technique.  So, one of our students, AVA created a mascot for TAS+SD to keep us mindful of our PLAYFULNESS.  Its name is, of course, PLAY!

Ava designed PLAY! on paper, and then we turned PLAY! into a real character that will serve as the 2017-2018 TAS+SD Mascot. We are so proud of Ava and her creativity!

More students joined in the fun and created their own designs! You will be able to view their designs, and meet PLAY!, starting in September at the TAS+SD studios! This creativity will inspire us in the months to come as we look forward to an awesome 2017-2018 season!

Comment

Comment

USING THE ARTS AS A BRIDGE

Since 2015, TAS+SD has partnered with Enlite Bridge International Camps to produce the SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL YOUTH ARTS FESTIVAL. In July 2017, we presented our fourth event at Francis Parker School in Linda Vista. Over the years, we have had INCREDIBLE groups and performers on the SDIYA Festival Stage, such as:

  • Xing Jian Dance Studio
  • Capoeira Luanda San Diego
  • EnliteBridge Model Team
  • Kaitlyn O'Leary
  • Hula Sisters
  • Canyon Crest Academy / Icky Productions
  • Hong Wu Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy
  • North County String Ensemble
  • Mia Davila
  • Center for World Music Odissi Dance School / Mira Sur
  • Ballet Folklorico El Tapatio
  • Reyes Barrios
  • Flora Yuan
  • Rincon Youth Storytellers
  • Rebecca Penner
  • Neo Kyma dance group from Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church
  • Jr Skullies
  • Malashock Dance Jr. Company
  • San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute
  • Recreational Music Center
  • Center for World Music Odissi Dance School
  • Eleni Stavros
  • Vyctorya Thomas
  • Cameron Marie
  • Emma Kirsch
  • Zhuxi Wang
  • After School Learning Tree
  • Lou Rasse
  • San Diego Ballet / Sierra Crocker
  • San Marcos High School Ballet Folklorico
  • Capoeira Brasil
  • Bollywood Steps
  • And more!

By bringing these diverse artists together on the same stage, we provide our audiences an opportunity to see the vast array of multicultural art traditions that are thriving here in San Diego. It also gives the performers a chance to be inspired by a craft they may not have had much exposure to. And it lets all of know that we live in a very small world, where we can find commonality in our passion for the arts.

 

Comment

Comment

RECOGNIZING LEARNING STYLES

IMG_4074.jpg

Youth theatre can be GREAT for so many kids. But, if the instructors and leaders are not in tune with the many different learning styles of students, the traditional youth theatre model does not work for all kids and teens. Many can feel left out at times. Often, it is the most "extroverted" students that land leading roles in many youth theatre productions. Those who do not stand out can be thought of as "shy," and find themselves hidden in the back of the ensemble, with little opportunity to shine onstage.

At TAS+SD, we are so fortunate to have KATI DULANEY as our Artistic Associate. With a degree in Special Education, and a minor in Theatre, from Loyola University Chicago, she carefully designs curriculum for her classes that meet the needs of all of her students.  She also consults the entire TAS+SD team on ways be can best serve our students to help them flourish.

There are many different ways to approach young theatre artists, and not all teaching methods work the same way for all students. And also, no one is simply as extrovert or an introvert. We all sit on some part of the scale - and we can tip one way or the other from time to time. As educators, we learn how to capitalize on the strengths of our students, by providing them opportunities they might not receive elsewhere. And we have learned from our kids and teens - every time we give them an opportunity, they seize it and astonish us!

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.”
― Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

At TAS+SD, it is our mission to help all of our students express themselves through the theatre arts by recognizing their unique learning styles, and creating a space that is safe, nurturing, and nourishing for growth in their craft.

Comment

Comment

BROADWAY THEATRE CONNECTIONS

ham-FB.jpg

"MY SHOT" A talk with "Hamilton" CD BETHANY KNOX, from Telsey + Company

At TAS+SD, we love connecting students with inspirational theatre professionals.  Student Natasha Partnoy interviewed a key figure behind the casting of HAMILTON when it opened in 2015.  Bethany Knox, of Telsey + Company, sat down for a moment in her busy casting schedule to talk about the unique and revolutionary (no pun intended) casting of Lin Manuel Miranda's hit show, "Hamilton."

Natasha:  Hello!

Bethany:  Hey, are you?

Natasha:  Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about the casting process of "Hamilton" with me.

Bethany:  Of course!

Natasha:  So, I am really curious about these character descriptions...

Hamilton: Eminem meets Sweeney Todd

Eliza: Alicia Keys meets Elphaba

Angelica: Nicki Minaj meets Desiree Armfeldt

Burr: Javert meets Mos Def

Washington: John Legend meets Mufasa

Natasha:  Did Mr. Miranda come to you with these specific ideas for the characters, or did you help him hone his vision for casting purposes?

Bethany:  Lin actually wrote all of those and gave them to me years ago when we were starting the casting process.  It was the vision he had while he was writing "Hamilton."  They’ve evolved over time as we’ve been able to be more specific with the role requirements, but, yes, those wonderfully creative descriptions are from Lin.

Natasha:  So, did you help craft the rest of the character descriptions?

Bethany:  Yes.  Lin gave me a couple of sentences about how he envisioned each character.  And just as any other show we cast, we then put together descriptions of these characters that were as thorough and as specific as possible so that we could get the right people submitted.

Natasha:  Did anyone surprise you when they came in to audition by fitting a role that you thought they might not?

Bethany:  Absolutely!  That was what was so great about doing this from the beginning.  By putting this original cast together, we found out who these characters were.  Even though we had prototypes and these wonderfully colorful and specific descriptions from Lin, there were still different takes on it - still different people to explore.  Looking at who it was down to for each of these roles, it was truly a range of types.  It was really interesting.

Natasha:  Now that you have upcoming Chicago and National Tour productions fast approaching, will you be looking to cast people in roles similar to those playing them right now in the original company?

Bethany:  No, I've been building our files and doing replacement auditions for the past several months.  I'm finding that it is really not about ethnicity, type, or even age.  (The characters age so much throughout the show.)  It is about personality.  It is about skill set.  It is about what they bring to the audition.

Natasha:  What's like to audition for this show?

Bethany:  Initially, we have everybody come in with a song and a rap.  From there we can say "Well, maybe they’re not right for this show."  Or if they are, we move forward from there.

First, we give them a general packet of material, which really helps us determine where they fit.  Then, we have certain people come back with more specific material for a role.  Sometimes we see them with that material and then decide to change that.  Maybe they’re better suited for an ensemble track that would ultimately understudy two of these roles, because they could do either, such as Mulligan/Madison, or Lafayette/Jefferson.

Natasha:  So, in a few years, companies of "Hamilton" might look completely different than what is on Broadway today, but the show would have the same sort of core vibe?

Bethany:  Oh, absolutely!  Rather than focusing on the ethnic diversity in specific roles, it is better to remain color blind and get as many amazingly talented people in these roles as possible.

Natasha:  Since the music of "Hamilton" is a crossover between rap/hip-hop/pop and musical theatre, do you see performers from a wide array of performance backgrounds?

Bethany:  It is a real combination of everything and it's going to be so from here on out.  Anyone we consider will certainly need to have some "stage chops."  They need to have experience and a background in theatre, since the dialogue and staging is so complicated.  But, I definitely think we’re going to be pulling from both the rap world and the musical theatre world.

Natasha:  Since the show is about an important historical period, do you look at performers who are intellectually curious?  

Bethany:  Here at Telsey + Company, we’re always looking for people who are intellectually curious, because those are the people who are going to look for the most depth in their characters.  They are going to want to take it to the next level of performance.  For this show, it is crucial to be able to understand the history and make these history lessons come alive onstage.

Natasha:  Lin said, in an interview, that he wanted "Hamilton" to be performed in high schools someday.  What advice would you give to high school teachers and drama directors about how to cast this show?

Bethany:  I would say "good luck!"  Just kidding!  It is a wonderful challenge because the material is so complex.  I would tell them to remain extremely open-minded.  There is no reason that any of these roles have to be played by a certain type of person, so find the best person for the material and put them in that role.

Natasha:  Has the color blind casting of "Hamilton" influenced other Telsey + Company projects recently?

Bethany:  I started here seventeen years ago casting productions such as "Aida" and "Rent," so I like to think we’ve always been pretty open-minded.  I think that’s an area in which we’ve really excelled in.  I've learned from watching Bernie (Bernard Telsey) to always find the best people for the role. We encourage our creative team to do that as well.  "Hamilton" has just helped make that more visible, but I think it's always been a big belief of ours.  I credit the "Hamilton" creative team for their willingness to think outside the box for all these wonderful roles.

####

 

 

 

Comment