Theater a sure cure for summer doldrums |

Theater a sure cure for summer doldrums

Summer boredom becomes a thing of the past for teens who get involved in a summer theater production. This summer, The Center for the Arts will present the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, “Bye Bye Birdie. Director Richard Winters finds working with young people a joyful experience: “They come in with a ton of energy and get so excited about things. And many of them have a tremendous amount of talent.”

Almost all teen members of the local cast got involved in “Birdie” because of their prior experience in the performance arts. Some, like Camille Cadeaux, Nora Cooke, Sage Po and Laine Ebert, are alumni of Performing Arts Guild productions. Others – Dusty Douros, Brandon Alietti, Graham Collings, Elizabeth Ross, Khristian Burkhart, Juliette Hill, Isaac Winters, Shemaiah Barton and Sarah Moore – have participated in other theatrical productions in the community, such as “The Fantasticks,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Madwoman of Chaillot” (all The Center for the Arts productions) and Nevada City Charter School’s “Annie.”

Still others come from a choral background: Briana McDowell and Janay Thorn (Bel Canto choir, Nevada Union High School), Emily Baker (Starlite Express and women’s music ensembles, Bear River High School), Dan Parker (Sierra College choir) and Khristian Burkhart (Lyman Gilmore choir).

While most of these young people have focused more on one of the involved disciplines – singing, dancing and acting – they are all finding it a fun and rewarding challenge to bring all three of those talents into play simultaneously. But only a handful plan to pursue it as a career (see accompanying box).

Some professional actors “stumble” into their careers. Maybe 15-year-old Forest Charter School student Kris Thomas, who simply got “roped into” participating in “Birdie” by his performing friends, will find his true calling this summer on the stage. But even if the play is not the thing for Kris, he’s happy to be involved: “At least I won’t be bored this summer,” he said.

The 20-somethings in the band that will provide the music for “Bye Bye Birdie” were handpicked and led by 20-year-old pianist/arranger Danny DeLuca, a student of musical composition at Sierra College; the band is composed of Shawn Prudhomme, viola/violin; Corey Bristow, electric bass; Eric Norlund, drums; and Josh Ford, guitar.


Monica McKey, a seasoned actor and fledgling director in her off hours, serves as marketing coordinator for The Center for the Arts. Some folks know her best as Lili Von Shtupp.

Hopes, dreams

Some hopes and dreams…young local actors who want to go pro some day

Sage Po, 13 – music and/or acting

Briana McDowell, 15, and Janay Thorn, 16 – musical theater

Shemaiah Barton, 16 – classical singing

Sarah Moore, 17 – adaptation of books to screenplays

Danny DeLuca, 20 – musical composition

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User