PAA Presents So Much Better – The Broadway Musical Experience
Thanks to everyone, old friends and new friends, who came out to visit our booth last Saturday. We had a great time dressing up the kids and chatting with you! See you next year!Leave a Comment
Man #1…Carlos Lopez
Man #2…Michael Kern Cassidy
Woman #1…Jessica Fisher
Woman #2…Chloe Condon
By Janice De Jesus
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 07/17/2012 02:17:33 PM PDT
PLEASANT HILL — The first time Braden Sweeney performed on stage at age 7, he knew musical theater would be his life’s passion.
A year and a half ago, when Braden joined Diablo Theatre Company’s Stars 2000, he said he found a place to further nurture his craft. For the teen company’s upcoming production of “Hairspray,” Braden has been co-choreographing the dance numbers and said he’s happy to be involved with Stars 2000 in its 20th anniversary year.
“Stars 2000 allows teens and young adults to come together to put on a professional show,” Braden said. “You could be 16 years old and play an old man but in a professional theater company, that’s not possible. Stars 2000 provides a training ground for teens to work and learn what it takes to succeed in professional theater.”
Looking back on 20 years since its inception, Diane Kamrin, Stars 2000 founder, said one of the greatest highlights of the teen company’s history has been the number of students who have gone on to act on Broadway, perform in local theater, teach drama in schools and work backstage.
“Our goal is to get kids confident on stage or in whatever they end up doing in life professionally,” said Kamrin, who approached the Diablo Light Opera Company’s board about starting a youth theater program when fine arts programs were cut in local schools.
Kamrin said she’s been so impressed with the caliber of the performances of the students as well as the set design work by former performer Mark Mendelson, who starred in his first Stars 2000 show 14 years ago and still does set design for the teen company.
“The set design isn’t cardboard cutouts,” said Kamrin. “Kids rise to the occasion when they see the level of professionalism.”
“I tell the kids, ‘You have to be as shiny as the set,’” said Mendelson, now 26.
Stars 2000 has long been known to give young performers roles in well-known musicals they’ve produced because Kamrin said she’s confident in their ability.
“There are kids who, when you see them perform at 12 years old, you know they’re destined for greatness,” she said.
Kamrin said the students’ parents deserve credit as well for their kids’ success.
“Family support is a make-it-or-break-it for these kids,” she said.
“Can you believe I spent half of my life with Stars 2000?” Mendelson noted.
He first performed in “Into the Woods” at age 12 and starting designing sets for the group when he was 16 for a production of “Hello Dolly.” As a teen, Mendelson said his knowledge of set design was self-taught.
Since then he concentrated on designing and attended California Institute of the Arts. He would still spend summers designing sets for Stars 2000 and said he enjoys “coming back home” to work on “Hairspray” for the company’s 20th anniversary show.
“He’s done some of the most remarkable sets for us,” Kamrin said. “He’s also a musician and a composer so he’s probably singing songs in his head as he’s designing the set.”
“You get the best kids from a 40-to 50-mile radius. We do the best shows we can and strive for professionalism,” said Mendelson, who will start teaching theater production at the Athenian School in Danville this fall.
Braden recently produced and performed in his own show, a benefit to raise funds and awareness about Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that helps abused children in central Africa.
“As performers, our role is not only to entertain, but also to present (and) preserve these histories,”
Braden said about the theme of race in “Hairspray.” “These stories shouldn’t be forgotten. We can reach audiences with important messages to convey while we can personally reflect on how far we have to go.”
If you go
Who: Diablo Theatre Company’s Stars 2000
When: July 20-29
Where: Diablo Valley College Performing Arts Center, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill
Information: Tickets call 925-324-7359
Do you have a favorite Sinatra tune? Come see the show and sponsor a song!
My Way, A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is the must-see musical that celebrates the mystique of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the music he made famous. We’ve picked some of his most famous songs for you to sponsor.
For your sponsorship you will receive:
- Recognition in the program.
- Recognition in the curtain speech at the performance you attend.
- An invitation to an upcoming donor appreciation event.
- Knowledge that your sponsorship money will go directly towards our production of My Way.
See below for a complete list of songs. If you’d like to sponsor a song, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (925) 262-2128. We must receive your request and payment by August 3rd to be included in the program!
Sponsorship Cost: $500.00
Sponsorship Cost: $250.00
Strangers in the Night
My Funny Valentine
New York, New York
The Lady is a Tramp
Fly Me to the Moon
I’ll be Seeing You
All the Way
Sponsorship Cost: $100
I’ve Got the World on a String
I Get a Kick Out of You
My Lean Baby
Love is the Tender Trap
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
One for My Baby
It Was a Very Good Year
Young at Heart
You Make Me Feel so Young
The Best is Yet to Come
Thank you as always for your support!!!
via Broadway World
While most of us follow the path life presents us, a few of us see a clear, personal vision and point our toes in that direction. At the age of 17, entering his senior year at Granada High School in Livermore, Braden Sweeney set out to make a name for himself in dance and theatre.
In the upcoming production of Hairspray performed by the STARS 2000 Teen Theatre Company, part of Diablo Theatre Company, Braden is taking some early steps in his career by co-choreographing the company’s production of Hairspray, July 20-29, 2012, at Diablo Valley College.
STARS 2000 founder, Diane Kamrin, who is serving as Braden’s co-choreographer and mentor for the show said, “I saw an opportunity to develop an unusually talented and motivated young man, someone who is definitely going places in this business.”
“I also saw the opportunity to bring some fresh ideas to Hairspray. This is a familiar show to many people and I wanted some new inspiration. What first excited me was Braden’s youthful interpretation of dance moves from the 1960’s.”
Fundamental to Braden’s talent has been his training in ballet and jazz dance at the Livermore School of Dance under Amy Danya. He also brings his current interests in contemporary lyrical dance and hip-hop to the floor.
“I spent time learning popular 60’s moves, from dances such as the Twist and the Monkey. All these ideas come together in our choreography for the show”, Braden said. “I’ve gone all out for over-the-top, animated, big fun in the 4-5 main dance numbers in the show. I wanted everything to be explosive, bubbly and highly theatrical.”
Braden’s rare combination of initiative and determination, combined with sparkling talent, gives his colleagues reason to be confident he has a great future in front of him in the performing arts. Readers of local news may recognize his name as the creator and producer of a show benefiting the Invisible Children Protection Plan, an idea that came to him from a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Acting as producer, Braden organized the entire event, soliciting help from dozens of people behind the scenes and as contributing performers.
“There are few things more thrilling to me than giving our talented young people the chance to dazzle an audience,” Kamrin said. “I guarantee that Hairspray audiences will be smiling and clapping and tapping their feet. Patrons will have the opportunity to see the artistry of someone representing a new generation of choreographers work his youthful magic on a popular musical.”
STARS 2000’s Teen Theatre’s Hairspray runs according to the following schedule: 8PM on July 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and 2:30PM on July 22, 28 & 29. Diablo Valley College Performing Arts Center is located at 321 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill. Running time is approximately 2 hours 20 minutes with one intermission. For tickets, $13-$18, call (925) 324-7359 or go to www.diablotheatre.org.
One-time performance presented by our Performing Arts Academy Summer Youth Camp.
Performs Saturday, August 4th at 1PM at Del Valle Theatre – 1963 Tice Valley Blvd. Walnut Creek.
For tickets call the Lesher Center for the Arts ticket office at (925) 943-SHOW or visit www.lesherartscenter.org.
For more information on our Performing Arts Academy programs, click here. Information on our Fall classes will be available shortly.Leave a Comment