In December, Providence’s own TAPA: Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts, Providence’s premiere school for the integration of the arts and academics, along with the URI Providence Campus Arts & Culture Program, will bring Prospect High: Brooklyn to Rhode Island audiences. TAPA will be the one and only school in Rhode Island and New England to premiere the new play in a national release event. The play is written by Rhode Island native and URI graduate Daniel Robert Sullivan and the 46th St. Collective; a group of New York City teens. Prospect High: Brooklyn is a unique theater experience with emotional and timely content. It will have a simultaneous rolling premiere in 23 high schools across the country throughout the current academic year.
TAPA will premiere this stirring and important work on December 2 and 4, 2015, at 7pm at URI’s Paff Auditorium on Washington Street in Providence. Admission is free. TAPA theater teacher, Daniel Lee White, who is also an actor, director and filmmaker, will lead the project here. Says White, “The students of TAPA have been working hard since September breaking down the work, finding the root of the characters and bringing the piece to life. We are approaching the work in an experimental style that allows the focus to be on the characters and their relationships. The students have been excited to tackle the difficult content and find real characters and emotions that drive this piece to a climactic conclusion. We have also integrated the topics into our ELA classes allowing all of TAPA’s students to reflect on the social topics that are displayed in the show. TAPA is proud of the students’ and staff’s dedication to this piece of art and a final production that will be the culmination of months of hard work.”
The play focuses on four intelligent, highly energized students, and one seriously apathetic teacher. The themes address issues important to the youth of today, which Sullivan gleaned from his work with New York City students. Themes include apathy, revenge, friendship, casual racism, acceptance of trans-people and the power of both good and bad advice from teachers. It is all set against the backdrop of a huge Brooklyn High School. Author Sullivan says, “I wanted to create an issue-driven, age-appropriate, ethnically-diverse, flexible-cast play that represents the extremes inherent in an urban high school environment.” In other words, issues important to youth today.
In selecting TAPA to premiere the production, playwright Daniel Robert Sullivan notes, “There is so much energy and power in teenage theater makers, but that positive force is often felt only locally. After much research, we chose 23 of the boldest high school theater departments from across the country and can use this first ever high school rolling world premiere to recognize them and expose their power at a national level.”
In addition to director Daniel Lee White, the production includes a cast of four students and one faculty member. Prospect High: Brooklyn stars students Everlee Rodriguez, Steven Rosario, Oscar Soto-Quiñones and Idallis Taylor, all of Providence, and TAPA instructor Ammar Zia. Asher Couto and Vanida Pell, also of Providence, make up the stage management crew as well as serving as understudies for the production. Rachel Nadeau, adjunct theatre artist in Residence is the production’s chief designer.
Nanci DeRobbio, TAPA’s head of school asserts that she is thrilled for TAPA students to receive this recognition on a national scale. For more information, please contact Patricia Hawkridge, Dean of the Arts at email@example.com, or visit their website at: tapaprovidence.org.