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TJM, homeschooled child star

posted by Amy Bobeda on Wed, Feb 8, 2012
in Backstage buzz , Our shows

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Much like the notion of child stardom, homeschooling is romanticized. No shock that the two go hand in hand like doing geometry in your pj's right before Teen Bop comes by to write a cover story about how you have the world’s best hair. Clearly, I am now romanticizing the homeschooling and stardom of my future husband, Justin Bieber.

The homeschooled child star isn’t at the forefront of many Reptile’s minds these days: The Pillowman and Brundibar are far behind us, but once in a while we find a gem of a kid, and voila! A homeschooled child star is born.

For those who have yet to catch my drift, I am talking about the Tyler James Myers (featured on the cover of last month’s issue of American Theatre magazine) who portrays the character of Boy in the Tony Taccone/Jon Moscone love child entitled Ghost Light (running on the Thrust Stage through February 19).

As far as 15-year-old kids go, Tyler is pretty much one of the coolest I know, and I'm sure his homeschooled-child-star aura is a contributor to his air of coolness.

A native of Medford, Oregon, Tyler began homeschooling about a year ago when he began his first rendition of Ghost Light with the rest of the gang at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Oregon has it's own regulations on schooling child actors, but in California, we require both a guardian (in this case his mom) and a studio teacher credentialed in both elementry and secondary school who is part of the studio teacher union (a branch of IATSE) to be in the room at all times Tyler is working to ensure no child labor laws are broken.

Tyler never thought he'd be homeschooled, but during eighth grade someone asked him if he’d consider being in the school play. He said, “Why not?” Little did he know, he would fall in love and kiss normal school goodbye. Now he is just over halfway through his sophomore year of high school, working with an online schooling program and his studio teacher, Victora (a regular studio teacher on Berkeley Rep shows featuring kiddies).

For Tyler, like most homeschooled kids I know, the highlight is getting to sleep in, but a close second is, of course, field trips!

Lucky for Tyler, his stint in the Bay Area has given him a chance to sightsee while getting school credit. He has toured Chinatown and had the best smoothie of his life. Thanks to the political clout of his role, he’s had a private tour of SF City Hall to see the room where Mayor Moscone was shot. For some kids, that could mess with your head and jeopardize your performance as the son of the deceased, but not Tyler -- he’s a total rock star (not just because he has Justin Beiber hair). He’s walked the Golden Gate Bridge and seen the living roof at the Academy of Sciences. He’s even hung out at the Palace of Fine Arts. His favorite trip, however, was to the Presidio because there were so many old cannons, and in the words of TJM, “They were so sweet!”

Of course the life change from normal teen to homeschooled child star has been hard. No one Tyler sees at work is under the age of 23, and his friends still attend his old school. But, according to TJM, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of his current path in life.

Millions of kids dream of growing up like Tyler. I know I sure did. But now, I just hope I can ride his Bieber Fever coattails for a while, or at least get in some good games of Left for Dead in between geometry lessons, Thursday matinees, and much-needed puzzle time.

Til next time,
Amy aka Future Mrs. Bieber

TJM just doin' some good ol' geometry in the green room.



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