'StandUP! Change Teen Statistics' Musical Takes on Teen Issues, 3/18

By: Feb. 28, 2011
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For decades, sobering statistics on teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, bullying, illegal drugs, self-mutilation, suicide, hate crimes and minority discrimination lurked in the background of popular culture. But now those statistics are being brought front and center stage in a compelling new musical titled StandUP! Change Teen Statistics.

StandUP! Change Teen Statistics features original music and script commissioned by the R.ED.I Arts and Education Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in the Chicago area. The production features a diverse cast of 10 young actors, 16-24 depicting real life situations drawn from interviews with teenagers. The show has been playing to high school and educational conference audiences throughout the Midwest and is receiving inquiries from school and organizations around the country.

That growth should receive another boost thanks to a newly established collaborative relationship with one of the nation's leading creative sources for improvisational sketch comedy and theatricals. The Second City will be collaborating on this effort to help promote and enhance the show and offer follow up interactive workshops for students. The relationship will commence with a special performance at The Second City in Chicago on March 18, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. Owner of Second City, Andrew Alexander was concerned about the recent stories of teen bullying, and suicide making the news and was looking to create a project to help address these issues, when President of Second City, Diana Martinez told him about Stand up Change Teen Statistics, he approved the collaboration with Second City in an effort to help reach more teens in Chicago.

Kimberly Farah is Executive Director of the R.ED.I. Arts and Education Foundation. She co-produces the current show with co-producer/director Diana Martinez, whose producing /directing credits include; Director of Entertainment at Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre, St. Charles, IL for 13 years and Director of Kenny Rogers National Christmas Tour for 8 seasons. Martinez states: "After seeing a workshop of this project 3 years ago, I was drawn to it because of the raw and honest situations it represents. After a year of workshops we drilled it down to its most potent content, and done true to the teens voices and perspective. It opens the door to real conversations on difficult topics, and I think that's what carries its power."

"We have worked to develop a relevant, honest and riveting show," says Kimberly Farah of the production. "But most of all it is compelling because it is true, but not without humor and insight. We're proud of how it presents the issues with a net message of taking responsibility and making positive personal choices. The show provides information, hope and help for teens and for those concerned with their well being."

In February 2011, the production played to the Illinois Conference for Deans and Assistant Principals, who gave the show a standing ovation.

"It's an authentic and powerful project that will empower students to confront the real issues in their lives," says Michael Jacoby, Ed.D., former Superintendent of Geneva Community Unit School District #304. "It will create a lasting impact on every audience because these are real stories from the lives of real teenagers performed by students who know."

StandUP! Change Teen Statistics recently received a $65,000 grant from the Cebrin Goodman Center, an affiliate of the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations. The grant money will be used to provide subsidies to school districts that cannot afford the standard $2500 show fee.

"This grant money is so highly appreciated," says Kimberly Farah. "We are grateful to be able to bring this show to every student it can serve."

For more information on the R.ED.I Foundation and StandUP! Change Teen Statistics, contact Kimberly Farah, Executive Director.



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