Drama by Raina Telgemeir

4ed7c38372db98dea9c9_Drama.jpg
4ed7c38372db98dea9c9_Drama.jpg

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic, 2012) (target audience, Young Adults)

 

When my daughter, Shauna, was six years old, we took her to see her first Broadway production; a revival of The Wiz starring Stephanie Mills. I knew that it was the last time Mills could get away with playing Dorothy, and I impressed upon Shauna that seeing this show was a special moment in her life. As a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz from infancy (Shauna's first sentence was, “Give me those ruby slippers or I will take them from you!”) The Wiz was a great choice for an impressionable child, and even to this day, my daughter recognizes how lucky she was to have seen Mills in this iconic production.

From the night that we took Shauna to the Beacon theater to see The Wiz, my husband and I knew that we had a budding actress living with us. There were dancing and singing lessons, recitals, and ultimately starring roles with St. Joseph of Metuchen High Schools incredible theater company under the direction of the masterful director, Anne Curto. Ultimately, Shauna majored in Theater at Montclair State University.

Sign Up for E-News

Introducing a child to theater is asking for a certain life style choice that puts tremendous pressure on a family. The results are often magical as you see your child don a costume, belt a solo, take a bow, or design a set, dim the lights, and wear the austere black of a stagehand. But no matter what area of theater one's child engages in, whether it's in front of or behind the footlights, on this a parent can depend: There will always be DRAMA involved in a school production, and I'm not just talking about the script that's being memorized, the songs that are being learned, or the dances that are being choreographed. Of course I am referring to the lives of the youngsters who are involved in the production itself.

Raina Telgemeir, an American cartoonist, began her career by self publishing a series of mini-comics, but went on to adapt four Baby-Sitters Club Books into graphic novels for Scholastic Press. Telgemeir then made her mark by publishing Smile, the autobiographical graphic memoir in which Raina, as a sixth grader, tripped one night, and knocked out her front teeth, leading to an ugly nightmare of orthodontics, including weird head apparatus, braces, and a retainer with false teeth. For a middle school girl, what could be more humiliating? The book catapulted to being a #1 New York Times Best-Selling Eisner Award winning volume, enjoying huge popularity with the adolescent crowd.

Drama is the perfect read for students who adore theater, and can be enjoyed from about the fourth grade forward. It's even suitable for adult consumption. The main character, a girl named Callie, loves being a part of the theater company. Although she fantasizes about being onstage, her auditions reveal that her singing resembles shrieking and is painful to the ears of those forced to listen to her. Fortunately, Callie is even more passionate about the art of staging a production, and avidly studies volumes of old productions to get ideas on how to create scenery that suits the quality of production that Mr. Madara, their director, expects from his students.

From the time that Callie learns that her school will be performing The Moon Over The Mississippi, she is determined to build a cannon that will excite the audiences by actually booming and spitting out fire. Of course, this has to be done in a safe and non-pyrotechnic way, a real challenge for her. She tackles the challenge with absolute determination that she will succeed no matter how many failures it takes to get the result she needs; a working cannon that will wow the audience.

As the crew begins preparing for the production, we meet Callie's friends, an interesting and very natural mix of multi-ethnic students who enjoy and accept each other without noting their diversity. In Drama the students are the way kids really are; they don't judge each other by ethnicities, sexual orientations, or religion. They do have issues with those who are stuck up and not team players, but there are no real villains in Drama. We see kids being kids.

Callie makes friends along the way with twin boys, Justin and Jesse Mendocino, two very cute boys who teach her a lot, not just about theater, but about life. These two talented boys lead us to a great surprise once the production makes it to the stage, a surprise that is fun and unexpected.

As always, life isn't easy for a seventh grader, and Callie has her ups and downs. However, on the whole this is a happy novel that speaks to kids who are passionate about theater. The graphics are delightful; the characters well drawn, and the volume is colorful and just plain fun. This is an absolutely wonderful book to share with your children if they are in love with the stage.

Of course, I do want to applaud my own star, who now performs daily on the stage of Schor Middle School in Piscataway, teaching 8th graders about literature, for giving me Drama to read and review for my very special audience. Bravo, Shauna! Well done!

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Union

Friends of the Union Library Plan Trip to Longwood Gardens

April 19, 2018

UNION, NJ - The Friends of the Union Public Library and BCB Community Bank have planned a trip to Longwood Gardens for Sunday, May 20.

The $50.00 fee includes bus trip, entrance to gardens, and snacks.  RSVP by May 1.  The bus leaves the Library municipal lot on Morris Avenue at 9:00 a.m. and returns at 6:00 p.m.

Checks can be made payable to 'Friends of the Union Public ...

Second Annual "Spring into the Arts"

UNION, NJ - The Second Annual "Spring into the Arts" festival will take place this Sunday, April 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., sponsored by Photography by Rebimbas.

The event will feature local businesses, artists, music, dance and many activities, including pottery, jewelry, big band classics.  For more information, call 908-851-2701.  The event takes place in the area ...

Karate at the Union Public Library

UNION, NJ - Sensei Andrew Crescenzo from USA Karate from USA Karate & Fitness will be teaching a four-week series of 30 minute karate classes.  All levels welcome.

Classes run from Saturday, April 21 through Saturday, May 12.  Ages 3-6:  12:00 p.m.  Ages 7-11:  12:30 p.m.

Registration is required.  Email emacleod@uplnj.org for more information.

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f893eca3a6fd51be5472_spring_into_the_arts_2018

Sun, April 22, 9:00 AM

Union

Second Annual Spring into the Arts

Carousel_image_724e89f98f89568bd300_417a9bfe5840a29503b7_ncnw

Sun, April 22, 3:00 PM

Vauxhall Meeting Room, Union

National Council Negro Women Open House Meet & ...

Carousel_image_e70a780a818209478152_off_the_shelf

Mon, April 23, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Hilton Readers Book Discussion: "Small Great ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_77caffd2e6b21a33d987_2nd_jazzd_up_4-23-18

Mon, April 23, 6:00 PM

O Lagar Restaurant , Union

2nd Annual Jazz'd Up For Autism Fundraiser

Arts & Entertainment

Favour Garuba of Union nitiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

April 21, 2018

BATON ROUGE, LA - Favour Garuba of Union was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Garuba was initiated at Caldwell University.

Garuba is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by ...

Vauxhall's John Jenkins Passes Away

UNION, NJ -  John Jenkins, a Newark native and resident of Vauxhall, passed away on April 12.  Jenkins was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and community member.

Jenkins was the devoted husband of Wimphrey (Williams) Jenkins; the beloved father of Jay (Vicki), Jerraune (Teressa), Jermel and Jeoffrey Jenkins; the grandfather of Monique, Jai (Leslie), Jazmyne, Jermel ...

Plainfield's Assemblyman Jerry Green Is Dead at Age 79

April 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) has died at age 79, according to an email to TAPinto Plainfield from Councilwoman-at-Large Rebecca Williams. (Williams also shared the information on her Facebook page.)

On Jan. 24, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) resigned as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee "to focus his energy on recovering from an ...

CFESPTA Tricky Tray Set for May 18

April 17, 2018

UNION, NJ - The 5th annual Tricky Tray at Connecticut Farms Elementary School will be held on Friday May 18.

Door open for the CFESPTA Red, White and Blue Tricky Tray at 5:00 p.m.  Calling begins at 7:00.  Contact Kathy McGee (908) 377-1164 or email kathymcgee74@gmail.com for additional information.

Union's First United Poetry Slam

UNION, NJ - Poets and performers from Kawameeh and Burnet Middle Schools and Union High School will get together to perform at the United Poetry Slam on Friday, May 11 at the high school.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Red Cross.  There is a suggested donation of $1.  The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Unveiled Sunday: Springfield's Meckes Street Renamed Reverend Clarence E. Alston Way

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Reverend Alston lead the congregation at Antioch Baptist Church for 53 years. He died October 8, 2017. According to the Proclamation issued by the Township of Springfield, he attended the Union public schools and earned his degree from Trinity Bible College in Indiana. Reverend Alston was ordained November 1964. He presided over the building of the Church and several ...

Cranford Man Dies After Wrong-Way Crash on Route 9

WOODBRIDGE, NJ – A Cranford man died after his car collided with another vehicle on Route 9 on Sunday.

Thomas McHugh, 88, was driving north in the southbound fast lane on Route 9, where he crashed head-on into another vehicle. On impact, one of the cars caught fire, according to Sgt. Jim Chessere of the Woodbridge Police Department.

 McHugh was taken from the scene to Robert ...

YESTERcades Opens in Downtown Westfield

WESTFIELD, NJ — A crowd of families lined up outside of YESTERcades in Downtown Westfield Friday night to be the first to play Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Space Invaders and other classic video and arcade games.

Located at 151 East Broad St. (formerly City Sports), it’s is the company’s third location.

YESTERcades describes itself as gaming experience straight out of the ...

Union Catholic's Surles and Trower Sign National Letters of Intent

April 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Two members of Union Catholic's Class of 2018 gathered with their families, classmates, coaches and school administrators for a special ceremony in the main lobby on Thursday morning to sign their National Letters of Intent.

Goldera Surles signed to bowl at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N., and Connor Trower signed to play baseball at Elmira College in ...

Touch a Truck Event to Take Place Sunday, April 29 at the Loop in Watchung Reservation

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ—The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation invite families with children of all ages and adults alike to climb aboard a variety of public safety vehicles at this year’s “Touch A Truck” event on Sunday afternoon, April 29. The event will run from 11:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., weather permitting in the ...

How to Report Potholes in Union County

With the winter weather finally winding down, potholes are a frequent issue for drivers. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like you to know there are resources you can use to report them to the proper agency.

"We certainly encourage drivers and commuters to report any pothole they encounter on roads throughout Union County to the responsible authority," said ...

Union County Freeholder Board Reminds Seniors on New Medicare Cards

Union County, NJ – In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds Union County’s senior adults that they will receive new Medicare cards from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this summer.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the federal agency that runs the Medicare program. It is a branch ...

Columns

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

What Union is Reading: Month ending March 2018

April 10, 2018

It is often said that you can tell a lot about a person by what they read but can you tell as much about a community by what they read? Take a look and see what you think. The top five circulated print books in six categories for the Union Public Library in March 2018 follows. The top circulated digital books from RBdigital make up the seventh category, download the app today and start borrowing ...

Letters to the Editor

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...