Hi, my name is Theo and I’m 16 years old. Do you remember your first live performance? A concert, a play, a musical? Well mine was the Lion King when I was 3. I was mesmerized by the boy playing young simba, and asked my mom when it would be my turn to be on stage. This sparked my passion for the arts. I spent my childhood in theater, singing, dance, piano, writing, and visual arts. They were the center of my life, my heart and soul.And then everything changed. When I was fourteen years old, what we now know was lifelong chronic illnesses that weren’t previously accurately identified, were exacerbated by a black mold infection, and culminated in intestinal failure. We didn’t think I would make it to the end of 2022. It was unlikely I’d ever see a performance again, let alone be in one.When everything seemed hopeless, I found a glimmer of light. While an amazing team of doctors deserve credit for saving my life, my mental health was saved by a different miracle: TeenTix LA, a non profit that aims to break the barriers keeping LA teens out of the arts community and empower them to engage with it on their own terms. Firstly, TeenTix removes financial barriers. The free TeenTix LA pass reduces admission to just $5 for 13-19 year olds in LA. Secondly, navigating and accessing the arts community can be really intimidating and overwhelming. But youth are wanted and needed at arts events. That’s why we compile all the best arts events into a monthly interactive calendar, so teens can easily find events that interest them and reserve their tickets.I was over the moon when I was chosen to be one of the first teen interns for TeenTix LA. My job was to go to our arts partners productions and advertise them on our instagram. And at first, it felt like an average theater going experience. But that quickly changed. I eventually took the initiative to talk to the artists and staff who made these productions happen and tell them about teentix.. I’d connect with all kinds of people and the more events I attended the more the word spread. Pretty quickly I went from explaining what TeenTix was to instantly connecting over passion for the program because the artists had already heard of it. I was so proud to realize that I had made that change happen. Everyone I talked to was thrilled to see young people getting involved. Soon, they started recognizing me and being excited to see me. For the first time in over a year, I felt like I was still an artist and had something meaningful to contribute to the community. These people saw me as more than a sick kid, and every one of them helped create one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Because TeenTix LA doesn’t just help teens observe the arts, it empowers them to be a part of them.My paid internship ended in June, but I was so motivated by the bright future of this organization that I’ve stayed on as a volunteer to help them grow. There are currently is only one full time staff member on the team, so at the moment we don’t have the resources to manage many more partners. But with funding for more staff, we can continue to grow our list of over 30 community and arts partners and create even more opportunities for LA teens.So we need your help.In the future, TeenTix LA would like to launch an arts journalism program for LA youth, hire more teens and pay them for their work, partner with rideshare companies to provide transportation access to our Passholders amidst the nightmare of LA public transport, and reach as many people like me as we can.The success of the Seattle branch of TeenTix shows us just how possible this is, and in TeenTix LA’s first year and a half, we’ve had massive growth already. We have 1700 teens signed up for our pass and passes have been used over 1000 times. We also had our first in person event for Passholders in March, and plan on many more.My medical circumstances may be rare, but LA teens who need a vessel for connection and community aren’t. With your help, we can bring that glimmer of hope to all LA youth. Let’s make it a reality together.
With global warming worse than ever and wildfires becoming a yearly occurrence in California, SCINTILLA, recently performed by the Road Theatre Company, is a timely and necessary play about the effect we have on our world. The play follows Michael and Nora as they travel to California's Wine Country to visit his mother, Marianne. As a raging California wildfire approaches Marianne's home, Michael struggles with his mother's refusal to leave, two unexpected visitors, and a complicated family history. SCINTILLA brings up the ultimate question of our very survival on Earth. Fortunately for us, we were able to hear from Danna Hyams, the show's producer, and go deeper into the process and production of SCINTILLA.Why did you choose to put on this show?
I was invited to hear the play read at the playwright's home in the fall of 2019. It was beautifully written and I was completely taken in by the different themes in the story. An extremely well drawn family conflict, juxtaposed by the outward immediate threat of fire and ultimate threat to the planet. I wanted to make this happen and I submitted it to The Road. I was thrilled when they decided to produce it for a Spring 2020 opening. But, of course, we all know what happened in March of 2020. So, we had to put the production on hold. It took three years, but I am very happy that we were able to present it now. What message do you want your audience to take away?
Get Ready To SMILE for IAMA Theatre
We are so excited to be back promoting another show with our arts partner, IAMA Theatre! SMILE premiered on November 10th. This show explores the story of a 17 year old girl from Northeast Philadelphia. When an “incident” follows pursuit at her affluent school landing her in the guidance counselor’s office, the two find themselves forming an unlikely yet complicated relationship. The main character is also learning how to navigate a world defined by her race, gender, and class. We wanted to learn more about their upcoming production so we asked Stefanie Black, IAMA’s Artistic Director, for more insight.
Why did your team decide to showcase SMILE and how did it come about when choosing which productions to perform?
SMILE was originally developed in 2018 in IAMA's New Works Festival. Melissa Jane Osborne, the playwright, is an ensemble member and submitted the piece. We have been developing it with her and director, Michelle Bossy since 2018. It was originally programmed to premiere in the fall of 2020, but due to the Pandemic, it had been postponed till now. We were and still are so excited about sharing this very relevant and timely piece of theater. It's a story with many perspectives and touches on the very potent themes of grief, trauma, and connection.
What message do you or your team want for teens to obtain from seeing this production?
We want to create more dialogue around feeling seen and heard as a young person. This play examines the many ways that teenagers do not have agency over their own experience, their bodies, their choices; how they rely on adults for safety and care, and how their feelings and perspective is so important. That their voices matter.
What’s something you or your team have learned while participating in this production and are there any lasting impressions you might have?
We have learned that centering the experiences of others around us is the best path to true collaboration and trust. In an environment where you are developing a new play, it's so important for everyone to feel they have a voice in the process and are a vital part of telling this story.
If you could explain this production in one word, what would it be and why?
Why do you think this production deserves to be seen by audiences?
There is a lot to be learned from the past. Not just our own, but our society's. It's so important to be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see where we have grown and where we still have work to do. This play helps us look at how not much has changed since 1992 and that we, as a society, still have much to do when it comes to uplifting women and their freedoms.
We would like to thank all of the members in IAMA Theatre, including Melissa Jane Osborne, Michelle Bossy, and Stefanie Black for all of their hard work to piece together this production after a long hiatus. This story serves as a touching reminder reflecting on our own society and how much change there is still needed to have.
Check out our events calendar for more details on this interesting and complex production. Teens – take advantage of this deal while you can! In addition, TeenTix LA is having a TeenTix Night with IAMA Theatre on Sunday, November 20th. Don’t miss an opportunity to sign up for lots of fun, food, and a post-show talkback!
Pasadena Playhouse sets the stage for audiences to check out ANN, their newest production. ANN is written and performed by none other than Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor. Taylor performs a memorable tribute and shines a positive light on the late Texas Governor Ann Richards. Through Taylor’s performance as Ann Richards, she is able to exude confidence and accompany a fresh yet colorful side to the character. Taylor’s successful performances throughout Texas, Chicago, Washington, DC, and at Broadway’s Lincoln Center have made this a long-awaited event in LA To get you excited for this awesome show, we asked Nelly Mueller, Marketing Manager for Pasadena Playhouse, a few questions about this highly-anticipated play.
- Why did Pasadena Playhouse choose Ann?
Ann was originally part of our 2019 - 2020 Season, before the pandemic hit. We're thrilled to be bringing back this show for its West Coast premiere this season, particularly because this will be Holland Taylor's last time performing this role. Our Producing Artistic Director, Danny Feldman, put it this way: "Holland Taylor is a true legend - her conception, writing, and performance of this show are evidence that she is truly one of the best we've got. It is a privilege to have her here with us to tell her delightful version of the story of Texas Governor Ann Richards one last time."
- What are some highlights or challenges from this production?
As is the nature of live theater, it's important to be ready for anything, and we have a truly excellent team here at Pasadena Playhouse that is always ready to expect the unexpected! We've also been lucky enough to collaborate with some of the team members at ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX to ensure that this production is the best it can be.
- What do you hope for teens to take away from the experience of viewing this production?
We hope that beyond enjoying the return of live theatre after a two year long absence, teens feel encouraged to register to vote! Holland Taylor reminds us that Ann Richards always said to "quit whining, and start participating." For this show, we've even teamed up with When We All Vote to make it easier than ever to register and participate in local and national elections, just like Governor Richards said we should. Visit WhenWeAllVote.org/Ann to learn more.
- What your team is most proud of when doing this production?
This is our second in-person show that we've put up since COVID, and we're so thrilled by the amount of support we've received from our community. We're very proud of being a member supported theater, and it was the support for those members and the greater Southern California community that has allowed us to keep making bold and important theater. It really does take a village!
We are so happy and ecstatic that Pasadena Playhouse is back and better than ever. Their shows never fail to succeed and that is why so many community members around the Southern California area love them so much to keep their in-person shows running. We can’t wait for you all to go see ANN and hope y’all can be moved by Holland Taylor’s legendary portrayal of an iconic leader. Remember teens, you can head over to our events calendar and purchase your $5 tickets using our TeenTix Pass. Get your tickets as soon as you can before Governor Ann Richards retires for the VERY last time.