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The Glamour of Old Hollywood: A New World for Teens

posted by School of Theatre on Thu, Sep 22, 2011
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

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By Gisela Feied

One of the best parts of being a part of Berkeley Rep’s Teen Council is that it allows a teenager like me to see beautiful plays at an amazing theatre. Attending Teen Night for Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup on September 9 was no exception.


As I walked in through the doors of the School of Theatre, I instantly felt the welcoming smiles of Teen Council members and School of Theatre staff. The food was to die for (adorable mini burgers from Phil’s Sliders -- thanks Phil's!). As we enjoyed our dinner, we talked to Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, the two back-up dancers in Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup. It was very easy and fun to ask them questions about their performing arts training, including their triple-threat status being singers, actors, and dancers.  And, of course, what was it like working with Rita Moreno? It was extremely exciting to hear about how Salvatore has toured the world with stars like Cher and Britney Spears! Ray was asked about his experience in the Broadway production of Rent! In the show we would get visual proof of how gifted and skilled they truly are. 

After interviewing Ray and Sal, we walked together to the theatre with tickets in hand and found our seats. As the lights went down and the curtain came up we leaned forward in our chairs and were enchanted to see Rita Moreno standing centerstage, looking out over the audience. Throughout the performance there was in intensity in watching Rita’s life unfold as a one-woman show. Seeing her life was like a seeing a new world! From an early age she realized she was a performer, and at 16 she got her first contract. She got to meet people like Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley. Not to mention the fact that she played Anita in the movie version of West Side Story! She spoke about how frustrating and unfair it was to be cast in many movies and plays based on a stereotype of her ethnicity, despite her incredible talents.

Intermission was the longest 15 minutes of my life. After the show, I was completely speechless. We could only listen to the each other try to formulate thoughts into words. It was useless, but we all knew what the others were feeling, because we felt it too. It also connected us to a whole world that, until that night, I, and many of my peers, hadn’t been exposed to. That new world was the glamour of old Hollywood. Seeing this show made me more confident in my pursuit to become a working actor one day.  What an amazing show.  It will stay with me for the rest of my life -- I can’t wait for the next Teen Night! 

An aspiring actress and stage combatant, Gisela Feied is a junior at Oakland School for the Arts. A Teen Council regular, Gisela has participated in many Teen Council programs, including acting in the Teen One-Acts Festival and winning the title of Top Fundraiser at last year’s Teen Council Dramathon. 


welcome Berkeley Rep's Teen Council - hope to see you over the years...

joe kempkes | Thu, Sep 22, 2011

welcome Berkeley Rep's Teen Council - hope to see you over the years...

joe kempkes | Thu, Sep 22, 2011

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