• It’s Up To You

    In Their New Musical, TADA! Youth Theater Shines A Spotlight On Bullying

    By Meghan Gearino

    Known for original family musicals—cast entirely with kids ages 8-18—TADA!
    Youth Theater’s newest show is a must-see, and this time, not just for the
    top-tappin’ score. Opening this weekend, Up To You, for theatergoers ages five and up, brings
    issues such as stereotypes, bullying and popularity to center stage. We got the
    scoop from Executive and Artistic Director Janine Nina Trevens and writer, Eric
    Rockwell. —

    What inspired the musical Up To You?

    Janine Nina Trevens:
    I commissioned Eric to write a new musical for TADA! that
    involved a school election, as I wanted to introduce our audience to politics
    in a way that might be easier for them to understand. Eric then went further
    with the story.

    Eric Rockwell: There were many
    sources of inspiration for the show, including my own experiences in high
    school. I was also inspired by two important moments in American history: The
    Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. In both cases, I was
    moved by the idea of people standing up against institutionalized injustice. In
    one case, it was against the policies of Alexander Hamilton (for whom I named
    the school in Up To You) and in the other case, it was a long-harassed
    community finally finding the courage to stand up against government bullying. The
    theme of the show was inspired by “The Law,” a short treatise by 19th Century
    French political theorist Frederic Bastiat. And one of the main sources of inspiration was my friend Wendy, whose
    openhearted acceptance and love made my school years not only bearable, but

    Bullying is getting a lot of attention these days. How will Up To You
    bring more awareness around the topic to NYC children and parents?

    JNT: I don’t know if there can be more
    awareness to the subject—it’s always around us. We’re hoping that seeing a live
    show performed by kids for kids will make the subject resonate with our
    audience. Hopefully, parents and kids will talk about the show after seeing it.
    They can talk about this story which is sometimes easier than actually talking
    about something happening in one’s own life. I think the more you hear about a
    subject, the more you tend to think about it and then form your own ideas. This
    is what is so great about theater—it lets you think and explore topics and have
    conversations you may not have had.

    The musical takes place during the year 1977. Why not the present day? And
    will the audience still be able to relate?

    JNT: Eric wanted to write the show
    during the time he was in high school. It’s good for our audience to see how
    the world has changed and maybe also, how it hasn’t. I definitely think the
    audience can relate to the musical especially since it’s performed by kids. The
    clothes are different and so is some of the slang, but the characters are those
    that kids know today and the plot is still significant.

    Does the music also have a hint of throw-back to it as well?

    JNT: I think some of the music does
    have a hint of [the] 70s but it’s really [just] a great musical theater score.

    The free forum discussion on Sunday, May 6 is moderated by Miss New York Kaitlin Monte. How did
    she become involved and what can families take away from the dialogue?

    JNT: Kaitlin actually got involved
    with TADA! because her sister and mother have designed costumes for shows at
    TADA!, including Up To You. Since anti-bullying is Kaitlin’s platform as
    Miss New York, we reached out to her and asked her to moderate.
    Her goal is to get everyone talking about their experiences and what you can do
    differently than you have done in the past. She discusses how you can tackle
    bullying simply by being a positive leader.

    Up To You begins Friday, April 27 and
    runs until Sunday, May 20. For more information and to buy tickets, click here. And to see live streaming video of TADA! click here.

  • Calendar

    Little Makers: Chill Out With A Fizzy Drink At The New York Hall of Science

    Want to know the secrets behind citrus fruits? Come to the New York Hall of  Science on Friday, August 22nd... [more]

    Movie: “The Wizard of Oz” In Hudson River Park

    Come to Hudson River Park's Pier 46 on Friday, August 22nd, at 8:30pm to watch 1939's The Wizard of Oz as the sun... [more]

    Symbolic Selfies At The Children’s Museum of the Arts

    For the young artist in your life, come to the Children's Museum of the Arts on Friday, August 22nd between... [more]

    Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day At USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

    Tennis fans and otherwise will have a blast at the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park! With... [more]

    Blues BBQ At Hudson River Park

    Combine your family’s love of Blues and BBQ! Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 is hosting this scrumptious festival with America’s... [more]

    Sprinkler Day At Asphalt Green

    Get some relief from the summer heat at Asphalt Green's Sprinkler Day on Saturday, August 23rd.  Starting at 10:30 a.m., your kids... [more]

    Brighton Jubilee Festival At Brighton Beach

    Come to the annual Brighton Jubilee Festival on Sunday, August 24th to experience multiple entertainment stages, shopping booths, kiddie rides,... [more]

    NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam At Governors Island

    If your little ones can’t get enough of cars, take them to see this classic VW show! The NYC Volkswagen Traffic... [more]

    August Hip Tot Family Day In Greenwood Park

    Greenwood Park is hosting an end-of-summer party for its monthly Hip Tot Family Day. There will be live music, crafts,... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibit At Discovery Times Square

    Suit up for the Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit at Discovery Times Square! Visitors will be given access to "intelligence files"... [more]

    Art Adventure Mondays At The Jewish Museum

    Explore the galleries of the Jewish Museum with stories, sketching, and exciting themes each week.... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    Blue Man Group

    This literally blue trio combines theater, art, and technology into a fascinatingly original performance that’s hard to describe. It’s recommended... [more]

    Cinderella on Broadway

    Originally produced for television in 1957 and starring an up-and-coming Julie Andrews, this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical made its Broadway... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    Wicked on Broadway

    The prequel to The Wizard of Oz, this popular show focuses on the history of the Wicked Witch of the West. Highly... [more]


    This eight-person ensemble creates music with everyday items; no real instruments allowed. It’s all about dance, rhythm, and creativity. Children... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter at the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    The ABC of It: Why Children's Matter exhibit at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building examines the... [more]

    Aladdin on Broadway

    This classic Disney film's Broadway musical adaptation has received rave reviews and numerous Tony nominations. Featuring additional new songs and... [more]

  • Sign up here for the

    New York Family


    Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
    Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
    Please complete the CAPTCHA.
    Please fill in the required fields.
  • Latest Issue
  • New York Family Guides