Notes from Nina: My So-Called Life

Hi TADA! Friends and Family,

Happy Birthday today to my sister, Melissa. I haven’t seen her live in-person in over a year but we Zoom with our Dad once a week which is nice, although there is a lot of yelling. There was always a lot of screaming in my house growing up but this is different– it’s nice, because it’s about communicating – my Dad is hard of hearing and we want him to hear us.

It’s also the one year anniversary of my first “Notes From Nina.” One year ago I started writing about what was going on with me and with TADA!. I love to write and I don’t get to do it as much as I used to at TADA! because of the many different hats that I am wearing.

Speaking of writing, one of my favorite TV writers/creators is Winnie Holzman (she’s also the playwright of TADA!’s musical Maggie and the Pirate based on the book by Ezra Jack Keats). I use TV to zone out and be emotional over things not real. I started rewatching Winnie’s My So-Called Life. I thought I would rekindle my love for Jordan Catalano (played by Jared Leto), but I didn’t – he’s cute (really cute), but that’s about it. That isn’t enough for me anymore. This show is more than 25 years old, but the relationships between teenagers and parents and the relationships between teens and teens are the same. The characters were dealing with guns in school, identity, peer and self acceptance, LGBTQ+ issues, drinking, grades, sex and PRESSURE and ANXIETY. There just wasn’t a pandemic (and their fashion was different) but the feelings: the anxiety, the longing to fit in and to be liked, to love yourself truly as you are – are the same ones expressed today. TADA!’s staff has been here to listen and provide support to our youth, teens, and their parents. 

The other show that I’ve recently started watching is Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy. This is the first time that I am watching this series, and it will take me a while since it’s now in its 17th season. A quote (I’m not sure this is exactly what was written) that Izzy says that has stuck with me is, “I believe in the good. I believe it’s been a hell of a year. People are what matters. Messing up – it’s what makes a person. It’s how we learn.”  The character is speaking about being an intern. For me, it relates to this past year. Well, every year really. 

I know I write a lot about what I learn or relearn from theater, film and TV. This past year, I have learned so much about myself, TADA!, and the world we live in. I have shared the work that I’m doing and the work that TADA! is doing. You can read past Notes here which will fill you in on the goings-on or check our website. TADA!’s focus this year has been even more intentional to listen, learn and work with our people. To provide them with ways to escape reality as well as ways to talk and create in reaction to their reality. TADA! is made up of many people– we aren’t perfect, we mess up, we learn and we continue. It has been a hell of a year as will this next one. 

Find your people. Find your passions. Find your comforts. Take care of yourself. Enjoy your life. I’m learning to enjoy mine. 


Janine Nina Trevens
Executive & Producing Artistic Director