TADA! YOUTH THEATER is pleased to announce the upcoming production of EVERTHING ABOUT SCHOOL (ALMOST). Conceived by Eric Rockwell. Music and Lyrics by Brad Alexander, Daniel Aquisto, Deirdre Broderick, Helen Chayefsky, Richard Chiarappa, Van Dean, David Ganon, Keith Gordon, Bruce Keisling, Jim Lochner, Margaret Rose, Dan Shore, Shawn Sturnick, and Eddie Sugarman, EVERYTHING ABOUT SCHOOL (ALMOST) will be directed and choreographed by Joanna Greer. The limited engagement will be at TADA! Youth Theater (15 West 28th St. 2nd Fl. New York, NY 10001). Performances begin Friday, July 12 and continue through Sunday, August 4. Press is invited to every performance.

EVERYTHING ABOUT SCHOOL (ALMOST) concludes TADA!’s season celebrating 20 years of working with composer Eric Rockwell who conceived this show in 2002 as the second installment of TADA!’s popular “Everything About” series of musical revues focusing of a familiar topic like camp or family. In it we follow eight kids from elementary school through high school graduation in a comic look at how friendships are built and memories are made. Includes popular TADA! hits like “I Hate Gym,” “Can’t keep still,” and “On the Menu Today.” 

EVERYTHING ABOUT SCHOOL (ALMOST) cast is comprised of members of TADA!’s Resident Youth Ensemble; talented kids between the ages of 8 and 18 from the NY-metro area who participate in this FREE year-round youth development.


Eric Rockwell (Book/Music) is a musician, teacher, dramatist and award-winning composer of several critically acclaimed musicals. His work has been produced off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally. A 2004 Drama Desk nominee for best music, Eric composed the score and co-wrote the book to The Musical of Musicals (the Musical!) which, after two years of performances in New York, went on to have success on London’s West End, as well as in regional theatres from coast to coast. Eric was a member of the BMI-Lehman Engle Musical Theatre Workshop, where in addition to creating Musical of Musicals, he developed the score to A Little Princess, which was chosen for both the Dramatists Guild New Musicals Project and the New Tuners Festival at the Chicago Theatre Building. Mr. Rockwell has composed the scores to several musicals for children, including Golly Gee Whiz, a loving satire of the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movie musicals of the thirties which was written as a commission for TADA!. The show was featured on Lincoln Center's Reel to Real series, and recently won a National Youth Theatre award for outstanding original musical. Other shows created for young audiences include The Trials of Alice in Wonderland, based on the work of Lewis Carroll and Princess Phooey, a very fractured fairytale. Eric collaborated with several of his colleagues to create Everything About School (Almost), an irreverent buT Loving look at elementary, junior high, and high school. All these shows were originally produced by the TADA! Youth Theater.

For several years, Eric was the resident music director of TADA! and taught theater and music extensively in the New York area. At the Rockwell Music Studio, he offers private instruction in piano and voice. An actor and singer himself, Eric has performed many musical theater and light opera roles in off-Broadway and regional theaters. As a pianist, Mr. Rockwell is in the process of recording the complete canon of 19th century composer Stephen Heller.

As a "serious" composer, Mr. Rockwell made his Carnegie Hall debut with a heartwarming Christmas carol entitled The Annoying Drummer Boy.

Brad Alexander (Composer) has written for Sony, VH1, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, TADA!, Raw Impressions, West Coast Ensemble and The New York International Fringe Festival. He wrote Theatreworks/USA's Just So Stories with Helen Chayefsky (lyrics) and Mindi Dickstein (book), and Lilly’s Big Day with Kevin Del Aguila (book and lyrics). Brad has written/recorded with Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Lopez & Marx (Avenue Q), and Edible Red, whose debut CD drops May 2007 on Select Records. He is a member of The BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop and The Songwriters Hall of Fame / National Academy of Popular Music.

DANIEL ACQUISTO (Composer/Lyricist), a Buffalo native, earned his M.M. in Composition at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently participating in the the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Last year he wrote a pop/rock musical adaptation of Antigone for the Studio Arena Theater School in Buffalo.

GARY BAGLEY (Composer/Lyricist) served as the songwriter/music director for TADA!’s Musical Theater Writing Program at P.S. 110 for six years. TADA! produced his musical New York New Year, which he wrote with composer Michael Mulder. He also contributed songs to Everything About School (Almost), Sweet Sixteen and Everything About Camp (Almost). Other collaborations with composer Michael Mulder include Choices for New York City’s Alternative High Schools District and Three To Get Ready at Florida’s Hollywood Playhouse. Gary’s musical, Seven Ages, received its premiere performance at the Hudson Guild Theater in June of 2001.

Deirdre Broderick (Composer/Lyricist) Her work with TADA! includes songs for Everything About School (Almost) and the original musical, The Perfect Monster, with book by Janine Nina Trevens. Her songwriting for children is also featured on the upcoming CD "Hooked on the Bible," brought to you by the good people at Hooked on Phonics. www.deirdrebroderick.com

HELEN CHAYESFKY (Lyricist) wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book with composer Brad Alexander for the short musical, The Ransom of Red Chief, an updated version of the O. Henry story. She wrote the lyrics for the Theatreworks/USA national touring production of Just So Stories (composer Brad Alexander, writer Mindi Dickstein), a musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book. Helen and Brad have had their songs featured in two TADA! original musicals. She is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theater Workshop.

Richard ChiaRAPPA (Composer) is the founding music director and conductor of the West Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra (www.whso.org). He is also resident conductor of the Scholar-Athlete Games Orchestra, located on the University of Rhode Island campus. Richard has been writer or composer of four musicals: Brandenburgh (based on a Mark Twain short story), Hoop, (co-written with his wife, Martha) published by Encore Publishing, Lincoln & Booth and The Best Kept Secret of World War II, written in collaboration with playwright, Terrence Ortwein. With Everything About School (Almost) being produced once again, he is proud to be associated with TADA!.

Van Dean (Lyricist) has written the book, music and lyrics for A Rose in Winter, the lyrics for True Love Is a Work of Art and is currently writing The Eyes of Midnight. Other past projects include composing the quintet "Stolen Youth" and writing new lyrics and arrangements of the Rodgers and Hart song, "Dear Old Syracuse" for Syracuse University's 125th Anniversary Celebration, hosted by Dick Clark. As producer, he co-founded Van Hill Entertainment in early 2005 and has since presented new musicals such as Rooms (www.roomsmusical.com), the World Premiere of Saint Heaven (www.saintheaven.com) and Alive In The World (www.aliveintheworld.com).

David Ganon (Composer) is a composer-lyricist/dramaturg, and a member of the BMI/Lehman Engel Advanced Musicial Theater Writers’ Workshop. He’s very grateful to Eric, Jen, and everyone at TADA! for this chance to go back to school.

Keith Gordon (Composer/Lyricist) has written music and lyrics for Saint Heaven with book writer Martin Casella, which was most recently seen at The Stamford Center for the Performing Arts and was featured this fall in NYMF (NMTN¹s Director¹s Choice Winner 2006). He¹s currently writing the scores for, Little Mary, with playwright Michele Aldin, and Free Money, with Martin Casella and Barbara Multer-Wellin. He¹s an alumni of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. His songs have been recorded by artists including the Bayje (Atlantic), The Valli Girls (Sony/BMG), JoJo David (Arrhae Press), and Anne Marie David (Arrhae Press).

BRUCE KEISLING (Composer) Keisling holds undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of Michigan (musical theatre and conducting). Music director: the Emmy-winning The News in Revue, Second-City Detroit. Conductor: Bach’s Cantata 140, the Faure Requiem, musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and Baby. Composer: incidental scores, Swimming (Off-B’way), The Merry Wives of Windsor, musical King of the Playland.

JAMES LOCHNER (Composer/Lyricist) received a B.M. from The University of Texas at Arlington and an M.M. from the University of Texas at Austin, both in Clarinet Performance. He has performed in the pit orchestras of many regional productions. He is currently working on a musical based on the life of Cynthia Ann Parker.

MARGARET ROSE (Lyricist) wrote lyrics for TADA!’s The History Mystery and Super Holiday World, and with composer Eric Rockwell contributed songs to Everything About School (Almost). Rockwell and Rose are the creators of The Prop Shop (for TADA!’s 10th Anniversary) and Don’t Touch That Dial, and wrote the score for A Little Princess. An alumnus of BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, Margaret currently makes magic at Disney World, as stage manager of Finding Nemo, the big new Broadway-style musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

DAN SHORE (Composer/Lyricist) is an opera composer and playwright whose works include Travel, The Chorus Girl, Downtown Diner, Works of Mercy, Anne Pedersdotter, and the forthcoming Lady Orchid, as well as numerous children’s musicals. His music has been performed in Boston’s Jordan Hall, Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center, the Gorki Theater in Berlin, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Dan is an alumnus of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, a Fulbright scholar, and holds a B.M. and M.M. from the New England Conservatory. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, he teaches at Emerson College.

SHAWN STURNICK (Lyricist) is a lyricist, a produced, published and translated playwright, and an actor. His musical, Midsummer Madness, with composer David Ganon, was produced at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre in Miami and their song “Here Comes Love” was featured in Centastage's Boston Sings Boston: Redux. Several of his plays have been produced in Boston with Village Theatre Project and Boston Playwright’s Theatre. And he has acted extensively in the greater Boston area, regionally and in the Off-Broadway hit, Blue Man Group. Shawn received his MFA from New York University.

Eddie Sugarman (Lyricist) holds a BFA in musical theatre from the University of Michigan, and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. He won a Jonathan Larson Award for his work with Andrew Gerle on Meet John Doe, which received a developmental production at Goodspeed Musicals and which will enjoy its world premiere at the Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. this spring (Eric Schaeffer directing). Other shows include King of the Playground (with Bruce Keisling) and The Gospel of Goliath (with Jihwan Kim). Eddie lives in Chicago with his awesome wife and two kids.

Joanna Greer (Director, Associate Artistic Director & Resident Choreographer) holds a BA in Musical Theater Performance and Dance from Columbia College Chicago. As a Director-Choreographer, Teaching Artist and Arts Administrator she has had the pleasure of working with numerous organizations, such as The American Ballroom Theater (featured in the 2005 Documentary Mad Hot Ballroom), YANY, City Lights Youth Theatre, and the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Current TADA! Director and/or Choreographer credits include 21 mainstage musicals as well as 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan Lori-Parks at TADA! and The Public Theater. Joanna is also the Co-founder of NYC-based Kinetic Dance Theater, an artistic collective driven toward innovating dance theater, cabaret and musical theater performance KineticDanceTheater.org.

Since 1984, TADA! Youth Theater has been providing young people of all different backgrounds the opportunity to explore and perform musical theater together in an educational, supportive and professional environment. In 2009 with a Special Drama Desk Award for "providing an invaluable contribution to the future of the theater.” TADA! is the only youth theater to have won this prestigious award.

TADA! has also received many other honors and awards including the American Alliance for Theater Education’s Anne Flagg Multicultural Award, Family Circle Magazine’s 1st Annual Halo Award, and more than a dozen National Youth Theatre Awards. Additionally, in 2008 TADA! was honored with a Coming Up Taller Award, our nation’s highest honor for youth development from the President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities.

Every year, TADA! produces: original musical Theater Productions performed by kids for family audiences; a discounted ticket program; free pre-professional training and youth development opportunities through the Resident Youth Ensemble composed of over 80 NYC kids ages 8-18; renowned Arts Education in-school residencies and after-school programs; and theater classes and camps for kids of all ages taught by professional teaching artists and for which need-based financial aid is available.


TADA!’s original productions employ professional directors, designers, technicians and musicians who work with a multi-ethnic cast of NYC children (ages 8–18) who are members of the TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble. TADA!’s productions lauded by critics around the country including BackStage who wrote about the recent production of The History Mystery: “Instead of the barrage of cutesy mugging and wavering pitches I expected, this hour-long musical, currently being produced by the Tada! Youth Theater's Resident Youth Ensemble, delivers bushels of laughs, a genuine emotional kick, and a clever dramatization of why history matters to all of us... I realize that adult theatergoers who don't have relatives in "The History Mystery" are unlikely to make their way to the show. However, anyone searching for an antidote to world-weary, irony-drenched drama should seriously consider the revivifying, hope-infused tonic on hand at TADA!”

TADA!’s Alum include Kerry Washington, Josh Peck, Christina Vidal, Mizuo Peck, Jordan Peele and Ricki Lake.


EVERYTHING ABOUT SCHOOL (ALMOST) plays the following schedule July 12 through Sunday, August 4:

Tuesdays-Fridays at 12pm and 2pm
Saturdays at 2pm and 4pm
Additional Opening Night performance: Friday July 12 at 7pm.

Tickets are only $15 for adults and $8 for children; Premium tickets (also available for every performance) are $25 for adults and $15 for children and feature priority seating and support TADA!’s programming.. Tickets are now available online at www.tadatheater.com/currentseason.asp. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 212-252-1619 ext 5 or in-person one hour prior to performance. Summer TADA! shows are especially popular with camp and community groups. Non-Profit Group rates start at $6 per child for groups of 20+; birthday party packages are also available.

Running Time: approximately 60 minutes

Website: www.tadatheater.com

Related Articles

Off-Off-Broadway THEATER Stories | Shows

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...