Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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From Dallas to Corsicana: “Teen Brain: The Musical”

photo (1)After a very successful run at DCT’s Rosewood Center For Family Arts, the cast & crew of Teen Brain: The Musical recently got to entertain an audience nearly 55 miles away from their Dallas home base in Navarro County’s Corsicana.

“I was very impressed by the flexibility of both the student actors and student technicians. They quickly adapted to the space and did the show that they knew how to do beautifully,” said assistant show director and DCT Production Manager Melissa Cashion.

As part of the DCT Teen Scene Players program, the eight young actors and six student technicians, alongside the professional guidance of DCT staff, rehearsed over several weeks and then performed the show for the public.

The cast - Annabel, Austin, Hunter, Kendyl, Colleen, Froy and Carter - play eight young people who have one unforgettable Friday in "Teen Brain: The Musical".

The cast – Annabel, Austin, Hunter, Kendyl, Colleen, Froy and Carter – play eight young people who have one unforgettable Friday in Teen Brain: The Musical.

The brand-new, high-energy Teen Brain: The Musical explores the lives of eight young people navigating the rough waters of high school. The show was written by DCT resident playwright Linda Daugherty, with songs written and performed live by Nick Martin, a DCT alum and professional musician.

Critics praised the musical as a refreshing and insightful exploration of the challenges currently faced by teens.

teen brain helmutTheaterJones: “The talented cast sings about the stress of school work, relationships, friendships, parents, peer pressure, social media and the like.”

Lake Highlands Today: “The subject matter of peer pressure and teen exposure to alcohol has been covered many times before, but this show presents it in a way that, refreshingly, doesn’t preach, doesn’t play like an after-school special, and doesn’t disappoint.”

Audiences also enjoyed the show, which served as a conversation starter for teens and parents to discuss difficult subjects. DCT Teen Scene Anchor Will talked to the audience on the show’s Opening Night about their reactions to the show:

What did the teen actors themselves think about their experience in Teen Brain: The Musical? The cast told us their thoughts:

Behind the scenes, the student technicians played just as crucial a role as their peers who were performing on stage.

Student technicians Nick, Emmie, Vlad, Chet, Jacob & Kelli Anne were recognized on stage by Production Manager Melissa Cashion before the start of one of the performances of the show.

Student technicians Nick, Emmie, Vlad, Chet, Jacob & Kelli Anne were recognized on stage by Production Manager Melissa Cashion before one of the performances of the show.

“These kids are absolutely amazing!” said DCT Production Manager Melissa Cashion.

Before the start of one of the show’s performances, she brought up each of the young techs to the front of the stage to be recognized by the audience for all of their hard work on the show operating follow spots, light boards, audio & video equipment and serving as deck crew or production assistants.

After several sold out performances at DCT’s Rosewood Center, the popularity of Teen Brain: The Musical earned the cast & crew of the show an invitation to perform at the Palace Theater in Corsicana, a first for the DCT teen shows.

8533197009_d8c4166467“The show looked and sounded beautiful on the stage at the Palace Theater,” said show director and DCT Education Director Nancy Schaeffer. “The audiences loved the show, and it was an experience we will never forget.”

Youth Actress Takes on Teen Brain

IMG_0745At 15 years old, Kendyl already has performed in five DCT shows, including two main stage musicals and three teen shows, each of which address completely different topics! The talented theater student even had the pleasure of meeting the late Larry Hagman last October when he visited DCT to see Pinkalicious The Musical where Kendyl played a bee in the show.

Now, Kendyl is performing in DCT’s new, high-energy Teen Brain: The Musical, which explores the lives of eight young people navigating the rough waters of high school. We asked Kendyl to tell us what it is like to be a young DCT actress and what she is learning in her current role!

Q: How did you get started in theater?

A: It was a completely random spark for me. I just went up to my mom and told her I wanted to be an actress when I grew up, so she signed me up for classes at DCT. I immediately fell in love with it.

Kendyl played Rebecca in DCT's 2012 production of "Secret Life of Girls". Photo by Karen Almond

Kendyl, pictured second from the left, played Rebecca in DCT’s 2012 production of “The Secret Life of Girls”. Photo by Karen Almond

Q: You have been in EAT (It’s Not About Food), The Secret Life of Girls, Madeline’s Christmas, Pinkalicious The Musical and now Teen Brain: The Musical. Tell us about your experience performing in these shows (each of them touch on very different subject matters)!

A: I love the diversity of the shows. One day, I’m a bee on stage making kids laugh, and the next, I’m saving lives through what I love to do – and that’s an amazing feeling. The main stage shows are always super fun, but the teen shows really hit home with me after seeing kids my age be moved by something I was a part of and decide to seek help or turn their lives around.

In "Teen Brain: The Musical", Kendyl, pictured second from the left, plays one of eight teens navigating through the rough waters of high school. Photo by Jason Lynch

In “Teen Brain: The Musical”, Kendyl, pictured on the right, plays one of eight teens navigating through the rough waters of high school. Photo by Jason Lynch

Q: What is the most startling thing you have learned about the teen brain while being a part of this musical?

A: How quickly teens pick up addiction. It really makes me cautious about the decisions I make. Teens seem to think they won’t end up the adult with the addiction, but many end up that way when they start these bad habits at such a young age.

Q: Are there any other specific lessons you have learned through participating in the show that you will apply to your own life moving forward?

A: With Teen Brain, I’ve learned that every action has a consequence. You may think what you’re doing is minor, but when it begins to add up, the consequences can be bigger than you ever imagined. These choices don’t make anyone a bad person – we all make mistakes. We just need to “look before we leap.”

Q: How do you think parents & teachers will benefit from seeing Teen Brain?

A: I think they’ll be able to recognize these behaviors more easily in their teens. They’ll probably be reminded of what it was like to be a teen and understand the teen brain better, which will help parents and teachers help their teens make good decisions.

Photo by Karen Almond Shown here, left to right: Robyn Flatt (DCT Executive Artistic Director), Jacob Segoviano (DCT Academy Student), Larry Hagman, Kendyl Mull (DCT Academy Student)

Photo by Karen Almond
Shown here, left to right: Robyn Flatt (DCT Executive Artistic Director), Jacob (DCT Academy Student), Larry Hagman, Kendyl (DCT Academy Student)

Q: Tell us about meeting the late Larry Hagman last fall.

A: Mr. Hagman was definitely one of those people that lights up a room when he walks in. When he talks, you are so eager to listen. Meeting him was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Getting to converse with such an incredible actor about the passion we both share was so awesome.

Q: What advice would you give to other teens who are interested in acting but may not know how to get started?

A: Definitely try it out. Take some classes – DCT offers a wide variety of classes from musicals, to just straight up acting, to film, to even tech classes. The classes will help you get more involved at DCT and the directors will recognize your face if you come in for auditions!

You can see Kendyl yourself in Teen Brain: The Musical, which runs during February 15 – 24, 2013 at DCT. For tickets to the show & more info, call the Box Office at 214-740-0051, or visit our website!

Teen Board Inspires Sweetness!

The DCT Teen Board members have been busy spreading the word about DCT shows, raising awareness on important issues and giving back to the community.

Inspired by one of their favorite childhood books, some members of the DCT Teen Board decided to give back to Dallas Children’s Theater by doing a bake sale, face painting and giving away prizes at Sunday’s performance of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” to promote the show.

The sweetness was contagious – the lobby smelled like cookies, and many of the teens, who wore white mouse ears, interacted with the little ones, some of whom bought cookies while others got their faces painted as little mice.

One little boy (pictured below) concentrated very hard on the guessing game. His hard work paid off because he ended up being the winner, and he ran towards the stage in excitement.

The members of the Teen Board did an amazing job coordinating Sunday’s event! Pictured below, the group went over their game plan just before coming to the front of the stage after the intermission of the show to announce the winners of the prizes from each of the contests.

Sunday’s event was not the first time that the teens have put their sweet tooth to good use. The Sophomores of the Teen Board did their own bake sale during another performance of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” earlier in the run of the show, complete with mouse ears, pink noses and having yummy treats available to the young audience members and their families.

The Sophomores led an impressive event! They met ahead of time to decide on supplies and packaging, make signs and even some of the cookies themselves!

The audience had a great time enjoying the baked goods in honor of The Mouse who inspired the teens to promote the mischievous creature’s hilarious escapades in “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, one of their childhood favorites.

In another event to bring more awareness to Dallas Children’s Theater and the work of the Teen Board, members of the Teen Board filmed and produced their own “Glee” inspired homage to the Dr. Pepper “I’m a Pepper” commercial from the 1970s. Check it out:

Here are some great photos of behind-the-scenes moments (below) from when the teens filmed their video:

In a separate Teen Board event, this time raising awareness on an issue that hits close to home, the teens, led by the Juniors, drove attendance to DCT’s “The Secret Life of Girls” by encouraging friends, teachers, school counselors and other community members to attend the show.

The Juniors hosted a post-show reception for the whole audience after a performance of “The Secret Life of Girls”, which had Cane’s chicken and Sprinkles cupcakes.

They also participated in post-show talkbacks to provide a teen perspective on the issue of bullying and ways to prevent it.

As with all of the comments expressed by teens during these discussions, people were impressed by and appreciative of their engagement on this important subject. When teens said, stand up instead of just blending in when something is going wrong, people were very inspired.

DCT is proud to highlight the amazing group of students on the Teen Board. Not only are these teens giving back to the community, their working together for a common goal makes them positive role models for the young audience members attending DCT shows.

Providing leadership on important issues, as well as getting involved in Dallas Children’s Theater through fun activities – that’s what the Teen Board is all about! Bravo to all!

We can’t wait to see what this active group will be up to next! Here are a couple more pictures from Sunday’s event:

Inside Scoop: “The Secret Life of Girls”

Some of the teen actresses in DCT’s The Secret Life of Girls talk backstage about the show and what it means to them.

The show explores the complicated world of bullying in the form of gossiping, manipulating, keeping secrets, name-calling, exclusion, spreading rumors and clinging to cliques.

Each performance will include an informative post-show talkback, which will give the audience a chance to discuss the difficult issues in the show and ask questions.

The Secret Life of Girls, recommended for ages 12 and up, will run February 10 – 26th. To purchase tickets,  call the Box Office at 214-740-0051, or visit www.dct.org.