Notes from Nina: Women’s History Month

Women's History Month

Hi TADA! Friends and Family,

Happy Women’s History Month. I know we’re almost midway through March, but this is my first “Notes” of the month. Are you celebrating women more this month than other months? If so, how are you celebrating and honoring women? Are you learning about important women in history? Are you choosing women who are especially important to you or do you always celebrate, honor and treasure women? 
 
TADA! was started by two women: myself and Linda Reiff. We started TADA! to provide musical theater programs to NYC youth and families from all different backgrounds. We did this to bring families together from all over the city – young people that wouldn’t normally meet at TADA! got the opportunity to work together, to support each other and to become friends while doing something they loved and needed to do. This support and friendship extended to their families. 

We were and are also committed to providing opportunities to women that they may not have at other theaters.

Right now, women comprise more than 80% of year-round staff, 46% of TADA!’s Board of Directors, 63% of our Teaching Artists, 69% of our Ensemble Members, and 69% of Guest Artists working with Ensemble. Women have been and are Directors, Playwrights, Choreographers, Composers, Lyricists, Musical Directors and Designers at TADA!. For the 37 years that TADA! has existed, women have been essential to the work. Also, for all 37 years, women have (and will continue to) received the same pay as a man in the same job. 

Most of the musicals TADA! has commissioned have stories that center girls.

These stories have shown their strength, passion, ingenuity, creativity, uniqueness, strong-minded, inquisitive, collaborative and resilience to name just a few great qualities. Some of my favorite TADA! musicals that reflect these qualities in the girl characters are Princess Phooey; Little House of Cookies; Samantha Spade, Ace Detective: The Case of the Maltball Falcon; Maggie and the Pirate; Sleepover; The Perfect Monster; and The Trials of Alice In Wonderland.
 
In fact, during this past year – yes, during COVID – TADA! has continued to develop new musicals remotely through devising workshops, new musical development workshops, and many, many, many meetings and hours of writing.

Currently, new works being developed by women are:

  • Common Ground, book and lyrics by Lisa Diana Shapiro, music by Julia Jordan Kamanda with additional music by Georgia Stitt. TADA!’s first two-act is about a group of teenage refugees and immigrants new to New York and how they adjust and survive together by forming friendships and a community through an afterschool program that they join. 
  • Because We’re Girls, book by Janine Nina Trevens, Erin Williams and members of the Resident Youth Ensemble Book Writing Panel: Ameerah Mair, Angela George, Bailey Emhoff, Eushin Vitale, Kahlea Hsu, Kayla Claudio, Kiyo Garcia, Lauralie Mufute, Leila Davis, Marlena Vega, Molly Cate Brown, Naomi Jessica de Leon, Navani Perez, Riya Nagpal, Savannah Delli Colli, Subiya Mboya, Tomai Nelson, Yealie Ulaba-Samura, music and lyrics by Miriam Daly. Because We’re Girls was devised over Zoom this past year through a collective of 17 female (ages 4 – 21) Ensemble and recent Alum Members. Through songs, monologues, scenes and dance, issues are explored that teen girls face daily: like sexual harassment, dating  (including LGBTQIA+ issues), body image and gender roles. These are the issues the girls identified and shared, although they are from different backgrounds: economic, racial, neighborhoods, gender,  sexual orientation, and abilities. It’s part of TADA’s Building a Pipeline for BIPOC Artists of the Future program
  • Before the Rain, book by Janine Nina Trevens, music and lyrics by Deirdre Broderick, is the prequel to the futuristic story of Odd Day RainBefore the Rain explores the time leading up to when Odd Day Rain starts. What happened that brought the children to live totally indoors, in their own windowless room and only learn and interact through their computer? And then, what happened to destroy that structure and allow some young people to live outside with no technology at all? 
  • Odd Day Rain – we are excited to say is currently being developed into a Virtual Reality participatory show. This is an exciting new way to experience, see and be a part of a theatrical musical. 

I can’t wait for you to be able to come to the theater in the next couple of years to see this incredible new work. 

Best,

Janine Nina Trevens
Executive & Producing Artistic Director